Five US states and Washington DC on Tuesday announced they will collaborate to develop potentially market-based policies to cut CO2 emissions from transportation, the largest source of GHGs in the region.
Connecticut, Delaware, New York, Rhode Island, Vermont, and the US capital will work together under the Transportation and Climate Initiative (TCI), and build on the momentum created by the states’ successful clean energy policies, which include the regional RGGI cap-and-trade market.
The TCI is a collaboration of 12 northeast and mid-Atlantic jurisdictions that has strived to reduce transport emissions and pollutants since 2010.
The governors of the five states, along with Washington DC’s mayor, said they will work to develop initiatives such as emissions trading or mileage-based user fees, which charge drivers based on their mileage.
“New York’s innovative market-based policies are already paying dividends in the electricity sector and we will now explore policies to advance clean transportation,” said New York Department of Environmental Conservation’s Acting Commissioner Basil Seggos.
On Monday, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said he would direct the Public Service Commission to source 50% of the state’s electricity from renewables by 2030.
Delaware Governor Jack Markell added: “We have cut our emissions by more than 30%, thanks to strong policies that have increased our deployment of solar energy [and helped us] switch from coal to natural gas. However, reducing emissions from transportation remains a stubborn challenge.”
The announcement was made in parallel with the release of a report by Georgetown University’s Climate Center, which found that transportation policies could cut CO2 in the TCI region by 29-40% by 2030.
“The transportation sector is the largest source of emissions in this region, yet states have many options to reduce this pollution significantly while growing their economies,” said Vicki Arroyo, executive director at the center.
The study’s other key findings included:
– Existing federal and state policies will achieve transportation emissions reductions of about 29% by 2030 from 2011 levels, but additional policies are needed to achieve greater cuts and to meet previous state commitments to reduce GHGs economy-wide in the northeast.
– Additional investments in clean vehicles, reduced traffic congestion, freight rail and shipping, transit, efficient land-use policies, and cycling and walking would help states in the region reduce GHGs from transport by 31-39% by 2030 from 2011 levels.
– These investments would reduce oil consumption by 4-27% beyond what would be achieved by existing federal and state policies.
– A transportation pricing policy, such as a carbon fee, mileage-based user fee, or emissions budget program, would increase the range of emission reductions to 32-40% in 2030, and could generate proceeds to fund the transportation investments.
– A suite of strategies funded by a transportation pricing policy would create benefits for the region. Over 15 years, businesses would save $28.7-54.5 billion and consumers would save $3.6-18 billion. “These cost savings from reduced fuel consumption, congestion, and consumer incentives would more than offset increased vehicle costs and fees,” it added.
– Such changes would increase the gross regional product by $11.7-17.7 billion, increase personal disposable income by $9.4-14.4 billion, and create between 91,000 and 125,000 new jobs.
By Mike Szabo – firstname.lastname@example.org