Last week, the Air Quality Committee of the state Environmental Management Commission (EMC) voted to recommend that North Carolina join the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI), a multi-state pact to reduce emissions of the gases accelerating climate change. The petition from Clean Air Carolina and the North Carolina Coastal Federation will be considered by the full EMC at a special meeting July 13.
RGGI includes 11 states along the Atlantic seaboard, from Maine to Virginia. North Carolina would be the twelfth or thirteenth to join, depending on when or if Pennsylvania finalizes its membership. The earliest admission for North Carolina would likely be January 2023.
RGGI states cooperate to cap climate-altering carbon dioxide emissions from the electric power producers across the region, and then trade emission caps in order to maximize the efficiency of investments in cleaner power generation, energy efficiency, and other measures to reduce power bills and improve air quality, public health, and our climate. We hope that North Carolina will join and then use proceeds to invest in communities of color and low-income communities which bear the biggest brunt of climate impacts, pollution, and environmental injustice.
“Joining RGGI is a win-win for North Carolina’s economy, environment, and our health,” said June Blotnick, Clean Air Carolina executive director. “Beyond cutting carbon dioxide emissions, states participating in RGGI have seen reductions in harmful co-pollutants such as nitrogen oxides and sulfur dioxide. Reducing and ultimately eliminating these dangerous emissions will greatly improve the health of communities surrounding power plants, communities that have often experienced the most harm from decades of environmental injustices.”
Gov. Cooper appointed a majority of the EMC’s membership, and we are calling on him to side with the petitioners. Click here to urge our governor to support North Carolina joining RGGI!