Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative in NY

by Morgan Wieziolowski

Widener University Political Science Major

New York State has decided to support a new initiative by the RGGI or Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative to cap major power plants on their environmentally damaging gas emissions. The proposed changes in the initiative would cut these gas emissions by 2.5 percent per year, cutting overall gas emissions that damage the planet’s climate by 20 percent within ten years.  This is not a new topic for New York or any state. The state of NY was one of the first ten states that supported the RGGI when the gas emission cap was first adopted. The RGGI is hoping that other states in the region will push for use of green energy and carbon pollution reduction. The Northeast has a growing concern for the devastating affects the pollution causes to the global climate. This topic is fresh in everyone’s minds due to the recent devastation caused by Super Storm Sandy, and the State and local governments are not letting the environment sit on the back burner this time around.

RGGI is also supposed to boost the State’s economy. Within the first two years of participation in the RGGI there is the possibility of created 16,000 jobs and increasing economic output significantly. Investing in stronger, more effective RGGI would be very beneficial for the State of New York, not only for the environment, climate, and power sources but also for the job stimulation, creation of new technologies and economic prosperity. Governor Cuomo has “committed” to strengthen the cap and ultimately push for a better economic policy. I think this is a great example of public policy in play with environmental issues. The state is already participating in the cap and prevention strategies but they definitely can be strengthened. Governor Cuomo stated he wants to do this, but has not actually laid out a plan of clear action to ensure these changes. I guess we will have to wait and see, but for the most part I like the RGGI and what it’s trying to do for the carbon pollution problems.

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