DSM endorses Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative

At its November meeting, the Don’t Spray Me! board voted to sign on to support the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, a multistate compact designed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. RGGI not only helps reduce PA’s inordinate emissions (4th highest state in the country) but also has increased jobs in the renewable energy sector and reduced energy costs.

In June, Gov. Tom Wolf issued an executive order (download here), directing the Dept. of Environmental Protection to propose rules for bringing our state into compliance with RGGI; but interests in the PA General Assembly are trying to block this important effort.

See also “It’s not too late: RGGI can help Pa. combat climate change,” guest column by State Sen. Katie Muth and Amanda Lapham of PennEnvironment, Daily Local News, Nov 27, 2020.

Climate change is very relevant to DSM’s concerns, because air pollution, including the fossil fuel emissions that exacerbate climate change, have been shown to weaken human respiratory systems and render people (including children) more susceptible to serious complications and death from diseases like Covid-19. See more here.

If you would like to show your support as a concerned citizen, please fill out the petition at bit.ly/RGGIforPA. Here is the text of the petition.

Proposed Rulemaking: CO2 Budget Trading Program (#7-559)

To the Pennsylvania Environmental Quality Board:

We, the undersigned individuals and organizations, are submitting our public comment in support of Pennsylvania’s establishing a carbon dioxide budget trading program and joining the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI), one of the nation’s most successful state-level programs for fighting climate change.

With each day that passes, climate change becomes a more urgent threat to our Commonwealth. Local impacts of the climate crisis in Pennsylvania include heat waves, worsening air quality that harms public health, more insect-borne diseases, more intense storms and flash flooding, and agricultural losses.

As the fourth largest emitter of greenhouse gases in the nation, Pennsylvania has a responsibility to reduce our emissions, and joining RGGI will put us on the right path. Over the past twelve years, this bipartisan program has had remarkable success for the participating Northeast and Mid-Atlantic states.

Since 2008:

  • CO2 emissions in from RGGI states have fallen by 47%, outpacing the rest of the country by 90%;
  • Reductions in other air pollutants, including SO2 and NOx, that can lead to premature deaths, heart attacks, and respiratory illnesses have resulted in an additional $5.7 billion in health and productivity benefits;
  • Electricity prices in RGGI states have fallen by 5.7%, while prices have increased in the rest of the country by 8.6%;
  • The combined economies of the RGGI states have grown by 47%, during the first ten years of the program, outpacing growth in the rest of the country by 31%.

If Pennsylvania joins the program, it could reduce its carbon emissions by 188 million tons over its first decade in the program — that’s equivalent to taking 35 million cars off the road. Moreover, joining RGGI will not only cut carbon pollution, but also reduce nitrogen oxide and sulfur dioxide pollution, yielding significant health benefits for Pennsylvanians. DEP projects that by joining RGGI, Pennsylvania will avoid hundreds of premature deaths and 30,000 hospital visits for respiratory illness such as asthma by 2030.

Critically, participation in RGGI will enable Pennsylvania to create jobs while reducing our greenhouse gases. DEP estimates that Pennsylvania would see a net increase of over 27,000 jobs by participating in the program.

To avoid the worst impacts of climate change, we must act now to transition away from fossil fuels and toward clean energy. RGGI is one of the best tools we have to do so and would create a solid foundation for other important policy steps, like expanding goals for renewable energy. For the sake of our climate, our environment, and our health, we urge Pennsylvania’s leaders to join RGGI without delay.

Graphic from PA DEP:

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