This week, New York officials are holding public hearings on new rules that would lower the state's cap on power plant carbon emissions. (One of those hearings is at 2 p.m. this afternoon at Department of Environmental Conservation Region 8 Headquarters, 6274 East Avon-Lima Road, Avon.)
Simultaneously, Environmental Advocates of New York has released a report citing the environmental and economic benefits of the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, the carbon emissions cap and trade program for several Northeast states. The report argues in favor of the new cap, which was proposed by the Cuomo administration. Under the proposal, the amount of carbon emissions allowed in New York would decrease by 2.5 percent a year from 2014 through 2020.
The report says that RGGI has already prevented the release of 12 million tons of carbon pollution — the equivalent of taking 2 million cars off of the road. It also says that the nine participating states have reinvested $617 million received through carbon credits auctions. The energy efficiency projects funded through the investment will result in $1.3 billion in cost savings for homeowners and businesses, the report says.
New York has used auction proceeds to fund green jobs training programs, solar power systems, home energy efficiency improvement loans, climate change adaptation research and projects, and renewable energy research and development programs. The report says that the Finger Lakes region is home to more projects — 2,706 — benefiting from RGGI proceeds than any other region in the state.
In the report, Environmental Advocates of New York also says that the state should retire unsold carbon allowances from earlier auctions and it should expand the industries covered under the cap. The organization's report is attached below: