Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative – Successful Model?

Guest post by Roger Caiazza

The Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) is ten years old and has been touted as a successful example of a “cap and invest” pollution control program and now it is being proposed as the model for a similar control program in the Transportation Control Initiative. This post looks at the numbers to see if this praise is warranted.

I have been involved in the RGGI program process since its inception. I blog about the details of the RGGI program because very few seem to want to provide any criticisms of the program. I will attempt to be less wonky in this post than on my blog but note that there is a wonky, more detailed version of this post here. The opinions expressed in this post do not reflect the position of any of my previous employers or any other company I have been associated with, these comments are mine alone.

Background

RGGI is a market-based program to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. It is a cooperative effort among the states of Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, Rhode Island, and Vermont to cap and reduce CO2 emissions from the power sector. According to a RGGI website: “The RGGI states issue CO2 allowances which are distributed almost entirely through regional auctions, resulting in proceeds for reinvestment in strategic energy and consumer programs. Programs funded with RGGI investments have spanned a wide range of consumers, providing benefits and improvements to private homes, local businesses, multi-family housing, industrial facilities, community buildings, retail customers, and more.”

In order to determine if RGGI is successful and a program to emulate let’s define some metrics. The primary goal of the program is to reduce greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) from the electric generation sector so quantifying the emissions change from before the program to the present is a key metric. Another appropriate metric is cost efficiency per ton of CO2 reduced compared to the Social Cost of Carbon (SCC). This parameter is an estimate of the economic damages from emitting a ton of CO2 and is widely used to justify GHG programs. I will use this as a comparison metric so I will ignore issues with this parameter even though I agree with the following by Paul Driessen and Roger Bezdek: “The SCC assumes fossil-fuel-driven carbon dioxide emissions are causing dangerous manmade climate change, and blames U.S. emissions for every conceivable climate-related cost worldwide. But it fails even to mention, much less analyze, the tremendous and obvious benefits of using oil, gas and coal to power modern civilization.”

RGGI is a Success

There are many who believe that RGGI is a successful example of a market-based control program. Not surprisingly, when RGGI recently released its report The Investment of RGGI Proceeds in 2017, agency staff who administer it sang its praises. The report’s press release quotes Ben Grumbles, Secretary of the Maryland Department of the Environment and Chair of the RGGI, Inc. Board of Directors: “The 2017 report shows why RGGI is a climate leader globally and nationally, not only cutting emissions in half but generating revenues to strengthen local economies and communities.” Katie Dykes, Commissioner of the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection and Vice Chair of the RGGI, Inc. Board of Directors said “RGGI states’ investments accelerate clean energy, reduce climate risk, and improve lives”.

Others also agree. The Acadia Center recently released “The Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative: Ten Years in Review”. According to the report “The country’s first program designed to reduce climate change-causing pollution from power plants has provided a wealth of lessons to be incorporated into the next generation of climate policies, from successes to build on, to opportunities for improvement”. Bruce Ho at the National Resources Defense Council blogged that the report “confirms that RGGI is a tremendous success story whose benefits continue to grow, and it shows how, in the absence of national leadership, states are forging ahead to protect our health, environment, and economy from the worst impacts of climate change.”

RGGI by the Numbers

In order to evaluate the RGGI emissions reduction claims I used data from the Environmental Protection Agency Clean Air Markets Division air markets program website. Emissions data from the electric generating unit (EGU) sector are available from before RGGI started to the present, so I downloaded all the EGU data for the nine states currently in RGGI from 2006 until 2018. In order to establish a baseline, I calculated the average of three years before the program started. As shown in Table 1 the total emissions have decreased from a baseline of over 127 million tons prior to the program to just under 75 million tons in 2018. This represents a 40% decrease.

caiz01

However, it is important to evaluate why the emissions decreased. When you evaluate emissions by the primary fuel type burned it is obvious that emissions reductions from coal and oil generating are the primary reason why the emissions decreased. Note that both coal and oil emissions have dropped over 80% since the baseline. Natural gas increased but not nearly as much. The fuel switch from coal and oil to natural gas occurred because it was economic to do so. I believe that RGGI had very little to do with these fuel switches because fuel costs are the biggest driver for operational costs and the cost adder of the RGGI carbon price was too small to drive the use of natural gas over coal and oil. The fuel cost and RGGI adder cost differences also mean that affected sources did not do efficiency projects to reduce fuel use to comply because means those projects are constantly considered by generating plants and implemented when cost-effective and allowed by regulations.

Because RGGI is a cap and invest program that is touted to be a model for similar programs it is important to see how effective the auction proceed investments from RGGI were in reducing emissions. Information necessary to evaluate that performance is provided in the RGGI annual Investments of Proceeds update. In order to determine reduction efficiency, I summed have to sum the values in the previous reports. Table 2 lists the annual avoided CO2 emissions generated by the RGGI investments from three previous reports as well as the lifetime values. The total of the annual reductions is 2,818,775 tons while the difference between total annual 2009 and 2017 emissions is 52,202,198 tons. The RGGI investments are only directly responsible for 5% of the total observed reductions!

In order to argue that RGGI emission reduction programs are a good investment relative to the expected societal cost of CO2 emissions the Social Cost of Carbon (SCC) parameter can be used. SCC values range widely depending on assumptions, but if you use a discount rate of 3% and consider global benefits like the Obama-era Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) did then the 2020 SCC value is $50. Table 2 lists the data needed to calculate the RGGI CO2 reduction cost per ton. From the start of the program in 2009 through 2017 RGGI has invested $2,527,635,414 and reduced CO2 2,818,775 tons annually. The $897 per ton reduced result is 18 times more than this SCC value.

RGGI as a Model for Other Programs

Other initiatives such as the framework for the Transportation Climate Initiative (TCI) suggest that the RGGI cap and invest approach should be a model for their cap and trade programs. I believe that there is an over-looked aspect of the existing market-based programs related to the proposed TCI cap and invest program. In RGGI, affected sources did not have viable options to install control equipment but could switch to a lower emitting fuel in many cases. However, as we have seen the reductions linked directly to investments from the auction dividends only provided 5% of the total reductions. The EPA Acid Rain Program (ARP) was a cap and trade program without the dividend component but was by all accounts very successful. Because the affected sources could switch fuels, install controls, or do both ARP reductions have been greater than in RGGI.

On the surface RGGI and ARP may seem to be viable models but there is a critical difference. The TCI proposed cap and invest approach proposes to regulate state fuel suppliers. The over-riding issue is that the suppliers have no skin in the game. They will sell as much fuel as they are allowed to purchase and if it isn’t enough to meet demand it is not their problem. Even if they wanted to do something to comply these affected sources do not have the option to put on controls or to switch fuels so they cannot use the control approaches that reduced emissions elsewhere! As a result, the TCI price signal has to be high enough to force fuel users to reduce fuel use and TCI dividend investments have to give citizens viable options that use less fuel. Given the poor performance of RGGI investments at actually reducing emissions I am very pessimistic that meaningful reductions will be achieved.

caiz02

Roger Pielke Jr.’s Iron Law of Climate Policy states that “while people are often willing to pay some price for achieving environmental objectives, that willingness has its limits” and the French “Yellow Vest” movement suggests that raising gas prices will invoke a negative response. But it is worse because the RGGI dividend investment results did not reduce emissions enough to meet the cap. If the TCI investments don’t reduce emissions sufficiently to meet the cap, then the inevitable outcome is that there will be more demand than the cap allows and the amount of fuel available will be limited. It is inconceivable to me that government-caused fuel outages would be acceptable to the citizens of the any jurisdiction.

Conclusion

Based on these numbers there are some lessons to be learned. Fuel switching was the most effective driver of emissions reductions since the inception of RGGI. Emission reductions from direct RGGI investments were only responsible for 5% of the observed reductions. RGGI investments in emission reductions were not efficient at $897 per ton of CO2 removed. As a model for future programs, RGGI successfully proved that a regional entity could implement a cap and auction program. However, the actual cause of observed reductions and ability of affected sources to make the reductions proposed must be considered before other programs adopt the RGGI model. Readers can decide for themselves whether this program should be emulated elsewhere.

Roger Caiazza blogs on New York energy and environmental issues at Pragmatic Environmentalist of New York. This represents his opinion and not the opinion of any of his previous employers or any other company he has been associated with.

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61 thoughts on “Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative – Successful Model?

      • “The RGGI states issue CO2 allowances which are distributed almost entirely through regional auctions, resulting in proceeds for reinvestment in strategic energy and consumer programs. Programs funded with RGGI investments have spanned a wide range of consumers, providing benefits and improvements to private homes, local businesses, multi-family housing, industrial facilities, community buildings, retail customers, and more.”

        IOW:
        “Proceeds” which go to big government entities which take their piece of the action off the top, who then create “benefits & improvements” which these same big government entities will then oversee & ‘regulate’, thereby ensuring yet more cash for their bloated salaries and grandiose retirement plans, thereby ensuring ever increasing leftist control of business.

        aka: a scam

    • Right off the block, chaswarnertoo!

      “The Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) is ten years old and has been touted as a successful example of a “cap and invest” pollution control program”

      Pollution!?
      Carbon dioxide is not pollution!

      As soon as they start with a fallacy, why read the rest?

      • I also have issues with calling this a “market-based program” when the government is issuing allowances and forcing participants in the market to spend money they otherwise wouldn’t need to. I think RGGI is the opposite of a market-based program: it is a government-based command-and-control system. To be market-based, the government would have to limit itself to placing illusory goods in the market (carbon allowances) and then see if anyone buys them of their own free will.

  1. I live in a giant scrubber called the UK. It rains all day and every day consequently there are no harmful pollutants in our atmosphere including GHGs. We are scrubbed clean of everything but nitrogen, oxygen and argon and are obliged to hyperventilate to keep CO2 at acceptable levels so that crops will grow. This is overseen by a climate change overlord or commissar if you will to ensure this policy is maintained

  2. Fuel switching was the most effective driver of emissions reductions since the inception of RGGI.

    Yep. With fracking we get cheap natural gas and it’s displacing coal for generating power. Of course, the greenies think that’s cheating.

  3. RGGI is a market-based program to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. It is a cooperative effort among the states of Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, Rhode Island, and Vermont to cap and reduce CO2 emissions from the power sector

    New Jersey & Pennsylvania too.
    New Jersey was there at the beginning but left in 2011 during Gov. Christy’s administration. Gov. Murphy rejoined it via executive order in 2018.
    Pennsylvania is a more recent joinee. Gov. Wolfe took executive action on Oct 3rd 2019 to join the RGGI

    Gov. Northam in Virginia tried to join but the republican state legislature put the kabosh via a provision in the budget bill prohibiting the state from joining RGGI.

  4. “cooperative effort to … cap and reduce CO2 emissions” …

    Carbon Based Life Forms hoisted with their own petard.

  5. And the effect of the alleged CO2 reduction is undetectable…… These useless programs are always touted as successful by the bureaucrats who promote, implement and evaluate them. I’ll bet the North Atlantic appreciates all the time and money you’ve wasted.

  6. When I see the “Social Cost of Carbon” I want to create a parallel number – the Social Cost of Cutting “Carbon”. It would have the advantage of being based on things we can actually estimate, as opposed to the SCC which is based on model predictions and what looks to me like arm-waving.

  7. All of these regional efforts to reduce CO2 seem to not recognize current wind patterns. California can get to zero CO2 emissions, but with the prevailing westerly winds will receive China’s CO2.

  8. “2017 RGGI has invested $2,527,635,414 and reduced CO2 2,818,775 tons annually. The $897 per ton reduced result is 18 times more than this SCC value.“

    All one needs to know… vastly inefficient and way overpriced — how Liberal schemes fail. But the Liberals control the media and the new breed of “jornalists” do not ask hard questions anymore like Caiazza does here and try to answer them.

    You also have to ask where that money went. $2.5 Billion buys a lot insulation and weather seal. The answer of course is special interest groups that then turn around and support Democrats. Roger Caiazza doesn’t try to dig into it and follow that money trail here, but if he did, he probably would have gone to sleep with the fish … New Jersey style.

    Cost of electricity (cents/Kwhr) to residential customers by region August 2019 data:
    New England: 20.77
    Mid-Atlantic: 16.09 (NY, NJ, PA)
    East North central: 13.42
    West North Central: 13.14
    South Atlantic: 12.11
    East South Central: 11.40
    West South Central: 11.26
    Mountain: 12.18
    West Coast: 17.21
    source: https://www.eia.gov/electricity/monthly/epm_table_grapher.php?t=epmt_5_06_a

    Mid-Atlantic is low because it includes PA which is still “low” at 13.83 cents/Kwhr, compared to NY @ 18.39. But now that PA is in RGGI, PA rate payers are about to get the Democrat Governor’s shagging on their power bills. Just remember, RGGI is pronounced Ri-gie, as in : Relax, it goes in easier. You voted for it.

    And the West Coast, Cal is way up there, but WA and OR have low cost hydro, hiding that regions cap and trade shagging on consumers by Sacramento Democrats.

    • Where the money goes is embarrassing for New Yorkers. It is so bad that the Environmental Advocates of New York did an analysis (https://www.eany.org/our-work/press-release/eany-report-finds-questionable-spending-climate-funds). Highlights include “However, since 2015, the state budget process has stripped $170 million in RGGI dollars from NYSERDA in order to pay for existing projects. For example, to date, $92 million in RGGI funds have been transferred to support energy tax credits that in some instances had been on the books since the mid-nineties.” AND they did not even point out the time Governor Patterson transferred $90 million to the state general fund in 2009.

      • When I read about groups advocating for “environmental justice,” that is just Progressive-speak for giving welfare to special interest groups (i.e minorities) to keep them on the Democrat’s plantation. In NY’s case with Big Daddy Cuomo as their Overseer. Any wonder why AOC helped run off good paying middle class jobs from her district? Democrats don’t like people and capitalists who don’t need or seek-out government welfare.

  9. RGGI is a market-based program

    Government bureaucrats have one solution to every problem.
    Regulate, Regulate, Regulate.
    Does anybody else find it obscene that a regulatory program based on regulatory frameworks, engendering huge amounts of regulations would be described as Market Based?

    Then we have this:

    The 2017 report shows why RGGI is a climate leader globally and nationally, not only cutting emissions in half but generating revenues to strengthen local economies and communities.

    “generating revenues”
    They just braggedb about raising taxes and fees?????

    Wow, such a success!
    Nothing more needs to be said.

    • Government bureaucrats have one solution to every problem.

      “Government’s view of the economy could be summed up in a few short phrases: If it moves, tax it. If it keeps moving, regulate it. And if it stops moving, subsidize it.” — Ronald Reagan

  10. California Democrats have also announced a companion initiative:
    Big Oil Haters In California, Regional Investment Government Initiative Enterprise.

    Designed by a Gov Newsom-led task force based in San Francisco, the impact of BOHICA-RIGIE will be felt by all Californians
    /s

  11. I am curious about the use of “oil” in the emissions generation (Table 1). Oil went from 13.4 to 2.7 million tons (from the baseline to 2018). Oil is not generally used to generate electricity – do they mean fuel oil? How was the decrease in “oil” usage accomplished? What’s the GWH of electricity associated with each year? Why is the baseline so high compared to 2008 and 2009 – recession years?

    • I cannot really give a good answer, but I can give an insight or two.
      Historically “oil” has been a mainstay of electric generation in New England. This is of course, fuel oil, let’s not get into the various grades. This goes way back to the Good Old Days. Over most of the country, fuel oil for electricity was replaced decades and decades ago. But in New England, oil based generation lingered on and on. And on and on. This was in part due to regulatory issues in siting new plants. Even then, back in the day. As time went on, these plants were used less and less. Mostly in a peaking mode where the peak price for electricity would justify the high fuel cost. Another big factor has been limited gas pipeline capacity into New England, which further discouraged the closure of the oil fired plants. Do remember that all these factors in the situation existed long before the current shale oil boom, and it’s effects now.

    • GREG, coal plants use #2 fuel oil for startups, but the total BTUs used compared to the coal is very small. Of course, the usage would depend on the frequency of startups.

    • Contrary to the norm, New York has a lot of residual oil fired capacity. In fact this year the State capacity for oil was 2,407 MW and 19,112 for dual fuel oil and gas, when the state total was 39,295 MW.

      I am not an expert on the rationale for why they built so much, why it changed or why it still exists. Historically the last fuel oil unit (850 MW) was built when they did not think natural gas would be available long term. The shift away from fuel oil use occurred as the price of natural gas went down. As I understand the current situation, the capacity payments are high enough to keep the oil plants alive as long as they cut staffing to the bone. There also are rules in New York City that require minimum oil burns when the possibility of a natural gas cutoff exists. The low rates basically represent de minimus emissions – they have to run a couple of times of year to prove their capability for capacity payments.

  12. Ultimately these are consumer paid schemes, similar to the anti-tobacco/vape pop-up industry funded by smokers. If the Greens can skim off 1/2 of 1% of daily energy expenditures, it will make the tobacco settlement look like your kids lemonade stand.

  13. Post says: “…Vice Chair of the RGGI, Inc. Board of Directors said “RGGI states’ investments accelerate clean energy, reduce climate risk, and improve lives”.”

    Ok. How much was risk to climate reduced? It must be measurable since she said it happened.

  14. RGGI is nothing more than a feel-good, virtue-signaling campaign based on FraudScience™ used to bilk ratepayers and taxpayers and reward “green” investments in “renewables” and other scams and schemes. It is shameful that our current RINO NH governor, Sununu is fully onboard with this, as it only hurts our state (and the region.

    • Yeah, I pity all the states whose leaders are fully onboard. Shame NJ managed to get out of it only to be pulled back in by Gov Murphy. And poor Pennsylvania managed to avoid it all together until recently. Elections matter and when you elect idiots like Murphy, Wolfe, or Sununu this is the idiocy you get saddled with.

      • The problem being, though, that Sununu as the Republican was the only choice. A Democrat would have been even worse. Have you noticed that in the Republican primary, the alternatives to Trump are both onboard with a lot of the CAGW ideology, and shout the praises of “green” energy? It’s depressing.

  15. From the post:
    RGGI investments in emission reductions were not efficient at $897 per ton of CO2 removed.

    “Not efficient” is a pretty weak criticism considering that money is being paid to prevent valuable and otherwise harmless plant food from entering the atmosphere.

    Sorry, but the whole premise of RGGI (CO2=bad) is fra*dulent. CO2 is good.

  16. Thanks Roger for this analysis. A market based on selling a non-good at arbitrary prices: what could go wrong?

    ReGGI prices are too low to take credit for reducing emissions, and raising them will show up in higher energy and electricity prices, and eventually, higher prices of everything.

    The whole scheme is running along, disconnected from reality, doing no good, but not yet doing much harm. And this is the argument for expanding it and building upon its “success.”

    My report on Reggi was https://rclutz.wordpress.com/2016/08/02/cap-and-trade-hype/

  17. You might as well spend £billions on using smaller drive motors to save power costs on all vehicles because you believe the world is flat!
    The objective of this and other similar schemes is to reduce CO2 emissions, and yet there is no reason, whatsoever, for us to do this!

  18. “The primary goal of the program is to reduce greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) from the electric generation sector”
    This goal is predicated on the erroneous assumption that greenhouse gas emissions cause dangerous warming so it is itself a red herring of a goal. Emissions don’t control the CO2 content of the atmosphere (Harde 2017, 2019, Berry 2019) and do not effect atmospheric temperature
    (https://www.youtube.co/watch?v=XfRBr7PEawY) .
    If the primary goal is not to control the temperature all the measurements of its success are meaningless. It is like controlling and monotering the flow in the Gallatin River and asserting it is an effective control the Mississippi.

  19. The basic premise is insane.
    CO2 emissions are not pollution.
    Atmospheric CO2 is the substrate for all life on Earth.
    CO2 emissions have never been bad for the environment.
    None of the various regional climate systems has changed in recorded history.

  20. This is probably another half-baked NRDC policy project so they are praising their own work here. Just don’t look for the whole story and you will be fine.

  21. “As shown in Table 1 the total emissions have decreased from a baseline of over 127 million tons prior to the program to just under 75 million tons in 2018. This represents a 40% decrease.”

    The RGGI baseline begins at the same time the recession of 2008-2009 started. How much of that 40% decrease is due to industry shutting down and people cutting back?

    • Gross load of all RGGI generation went down 29% over the same time periods as the 40% decrease. I am sure that advocates would claim that was due to increases in renewables but their output is still minor in the RGGI states.

  22. WHO HAS REDUCED EMISSIONS
    https://www.eia.gov/todayinenergy/detail.php?id=26152

    (In the U.S., in fact, there has been a 12% decline in overall CO2 emissions since 2005 despite the fact that the U.S population has risen by 30 million during those 10 years.  As mentioned above, much of the decline in emissions is directly connected to the rapid displacement of coal with natural gas power generation.  While the rise in U.S. solar power has also been substantial in the last decade, “for every ton of carbon dioxide cut by solar power, hydraulic fracturing for natural gas cut 13 tons.”)
    But in New England
    Lacking Pipelines, New England Awaits Its First-Ever Shipment Of Russian Gas
    http://bit.ly/33mP18Q
    Imagine how much they could have reduced emission and done so without the costs of Reggi if they had just built pipelines and/or fracked for their own reserves of Nat. Gas which would have added wealth to the NE states coffers when sold and jobs with income taxes paid.
    I suspect they are not adding in the emissions from Russian tankers traveling thousands of miles to NE to deliver Nat Gas they could have had from the US or from their own sources if they would allow fracking and pipelines.

  23. The Climate Change Scam has something for everyone that comes to the Climate trough to feed. It is why Climate Change is so powerful a corrupting influence. And the RGGI structure is just a new form of taxes hidden in the electric bills.

    – new taxes for politicians to buy political power, a convenient excuse for political malfeasance, massive rent seeking incentive to corrupt science, crony capitalism for renewable energy interests, power for socialists looking for more power, destruction of the West’s dominate economies for China and Russia. And for the UN and Globalists, the promise of ultimate dominating world power structure.
    – the only significant group to get the Big Screw is the dominate middle class and its unparalleled modern-day affluence. They aren’t coming for Trump, Trump is just in the way. They are coming for yours and mine lifestyles — and our disposable income that allows us to travel on holidays, buy flatscreen TVs and cars as nice as any billionaires if we so choose. They are coming for our IRA’s and 401K’s and other retirement savings stuffed with many tens of trillions of dollars because so many government pension plans are deep, deep underwater.

    As mentioned above, the entire climate scam Cap&Trade schemes from the Democrat politician’s stand-point is a new form of taxation. We see many examples of the funds in California and NY states now going into general revenue streams, if that point wasn’t already obvious as money is fungible. Charges in this case primarily via the electric bill that everyone must pay to live in a modern society, without having to call them taxes to the largely ignorant masses.

    The people now are NOT “ignorant-stupid” on climate change, but mostly “ignorant-uninformed”, and intentionally “mis-informed” by the propaganda and half-truths, both about global warming risks, and the carbon schemes that will do nothing even if the science is correct. The Paris Agreement INDCs were actual bad jokes on rational thinking. Even worse, the Paris Agreement and other COPs processes are actually worse than doing nothing because they give the uninformed the illusion that some is being done on global emissions. But information is the powerful tool the Liberals have always tried to control through the ideologically-aligned liberal media compliance.

    As Gorge Orwell made painfully clear in his warning 1984, it is information to the masses that must be controlled by totalitarian-minded regimes. History has to be re-written (like the NYT’s recent 1619 Project) and then re-written repeatedly as the desired Liberal narrative to ignorant masses shifts. This is why authoritarians from China to US Democrats now are working feverishly to throttle the internet, ban Conservative voices from social media. Today’s internet is the ultimate Free Speech tool. It is only a matter of time before sites like WUWT here and Tony Heller’s come under more direct attacks.

    Old media is rapidly dying. Every month we read about more lay-offs somewhere in old media. I think most people are aware of that. And freely readable articles at an open, highly trafficked blogs like WUWT about how the RGGI carbon scheme is failed liberal policy makes those pols nervous that people may find out too much about what is really happening to them and their economic future.

  24. This is another example of the irrational desire to reduce CO2 levels in the atmosphere at exactly the same time as the CO2 is needed to increase world-wide production of plant crops upon which billions of people depend, directly or indirectly, to stay alive. Many people still have their heads in the sand.

  25. After reading through this muck.

    “The EPA Acid Rain Program (ARP) was a cap and trade program without the dividend component but was by all accounts very successful.”

    Not successful. Just as stupid as RGGI.

    It turns out that rain is naturally acidic. It is normal.
    Large amounts of sulfates in the atmosphere can temporarily increase rain’s acidity, as volcanoes frequently do, but rain cleanses the air quickly of sulfates.

    Bad science and over the top activist screechings got government involved, but their contribution is below mankind’s ability to measure.
    All that money wasted with most of it going into corrupt pork projects or pockets.

  26. Politicians will love this scheme, its taxation in that the end result is of course
    a higher cost for the electricity, but to the politicians its a “”Hands Off”” way
    of doing it.

    As it is impossible to avoid emissions of CO2 from a power station, then
    this is the gift that keeps on giving, and until we get a clear statement from
    the Courts that CO2 is not a pollutant, but a good and badly needed gas for
    all of the planet, such a underhand system of taxation will continue.

    It is truly a tax on the very air that we all have to breath.

    MJE VK5ELL

  27. If a market is rigged by governmental fiat, then they can make it look as successful as they want.

    And when it comes time to dispose of it, they can make it look as dismal as they want. That’s all you need to know about the RGGI. You already know who is paying for it.

  28. One always has to ask what else has changed in addition to emissions. I’ve lived in one of the RGGI states (MD) and the basic industries like steel and aluminum production have disappeared in the last 40 years. There is still some manufacturing but most of it has been off-shored or sent to other states. In essence, it has been de-industrialized. The state does well however because of its proximity to Washington DC, healthcare spending and aerospace work.
    There are two troubling developments recently. In 2013, the state passed the Offshore Wind Energy Act which asses every residential energy consumer $1.50 a month and businesses and excise tax of 1.5% to support offshore wind energy development. I’m not sure when this kicks in but it means Maryland residents have the privileged of paying for wind power that’s not yet being delivered into the system. The second is that the state has taken an aggressive stand against allowing gas pipelines to cross the state. So in essence we pay for energy not generated and block the fuel that actually heats and lights our state.

  29. Virginia has the most to lose by joining with the loser states that have much higher average retail electricity prices.

    2017 EIA Data (cents per kwh)

    VA 9.18
    NY 14.74
    CT 17.55
    RI 16.42
    ME 17.12
    MA 17.12
    NH 16.17
    VT 14.60
    NJ 13.32

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