In a move that will accelerate state and regional efforts to combat climate change while continuing to grow the economy, Massachusetts today joined with eight other Northeastern and Mid-Atlantic states participating in the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) to\u00a0announce a plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions beyond 2020.\u00a0 As the result of extensive RGGI program review conducted by the states over the last 18 months, the proposal calls for an additional 30 percent cap reduction between 2021 and 2030, relative to the RGGI 2020 levels.\n\n\u201cThe Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative builds upon the strong collaboration of nine diverse states committed to reducing greenhouse gas emissions and promoting a clean energy economy in a regional, bipartisan manner,\u201d\u00a0said Governor Charlie Baker. \u201cRGGI continues to be led by\u00a0states that are\u00a0collaborating to achieve state and regional greenhouse gas emission reduction goals and deliver overall climate change solutions.\u201d\u200b\n\n\u201cToday\u2019s announcement by the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative will help Massachusetts continue to achieve short- and long-term emission reduction goals under the Global Warming Solutions Act while recognizing the benefits of an early transition towards clean energy,\u201d\u00a0said Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito.\u00a0\u201cWe look forward to working with our fellow Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative states to reduce emissions, and continuing to use RGGI proceeds toward complementary state programs such as our Green Communities program that encourages municipalities to reduce their energy consumption through investments in new technology and energy efficiency.\u201d\n\nRGGI is the nation\u2019s first market-based regulatory program to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from the power sector through the auction of carbon dioxide (CO2) allowances and the reinvestment of those proceeds in GHG reduction measures. The proposed program improvements include a new regional cap of 75.148 million tons of CO2\u00a0in 2021, which will decline by 2.275 million tons of CO2\u00a0per year thereafter, resulting in a total 30 percent reduction in the regional cap from 2020 to 2030. The RGGI states have already reduced power sector carbon emissions by nearly 50 percent since 2008, while generating more than $2.7 billion in proceeds across the region for reinvestment in programs to benefit consumers and build a stronger and cleaner energy system.\n\n\u201cThe Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative has a proven track record of delivering significant greenhouse gas emission reductions\u00a0while fostering\u00a0regional economic growth and accelerating the deployment of clean energy solutions,\u201d\u00a0said Energy and Environmental Affairs\u00a0Secretary Matthew A. Beaton. \u201cThe changes proposed to the RGGI program will lower the 2030 cap more than 65 percent below RGGI\u2019s initial emissions cap, bolstering the\u00a0Commonwealth\u2019s progress to reduce emissions and implement comprehensive strategies called for by Governor Baker\u2019s climate change executive order.\u201d\n\nSince 2008, Massachusetts has reinvested $306 million in auction proceeds to increase the energy efficiency of residences and businesses, provide clean-energy solutions to 155 \u201cGreen Communities,\u201d and to support the implementation of alternative energy resources. RGGI auction proceeds have helped Massachusetts earn the nation\u2019s top ranking for energy efficiency six years in a row.\n\nThe program review effort included extensive feedback from stakeholders and experts gathered through eight public meetings and thousands of written comments. The RGGI states will seek additional stakeholder input on the draft program elements in a public meeting scheduled for September 25, 2017. Once final materials and a revised Model Rule are issued, states will follow their specific statutory and regulatory processes to propose updates to their CO2\u00a0Budget Trading Programs.\n\n\u201cWe look forward to completing the program review process in the near future,\u201d\u00a0said Department of Environmental Protection Commissioner Martin Suuberg. \u201cWe will take the necessary steps to finalize the actions with our fellow states to ensure that we lock into place the reductions through 2030.\u201d\n\n\u201cThe Commonwealth is pleased to continue to work with our regional partners on a collaborative approach to reducing our greenhouse gas emissions,\u201d\u00a0said Department of Energy Resources Commissioner Judith Judson.\u00a0\u201cAs Massachusetts continues to make historic commitments to clean energy, today\u2019s announcement is an important step in creating a clean, affordable, and resilient energy future.\u201d\n\nThe agreement builds on the strong regional partnership and demonstrated leadership on climate change and clean energy by the RGGI states. The terms of the proposed plan were developed collaboratively to ensure all nine states could move forward together with a shared commitment to achieving the most aggressive emission reductions possible while protecting ratepayers, growing local economies, and reinvesting auction proceeds in clean energy and climate change solutions.\n\n\u201cMaryland is committed to finding real bipartisan, common sense solutions to protect our environment and combat climate change,\u201d\u00a0Maryland Governor Larry Hogan said. \u201cBy working together, we are showing that we can find consensus to help protect our natural resources, promote clean energy, and grow our economy for current and future generations.\u201d\n\n\u201cThe Regional Green House Gas Initiative plays an important role in our regional efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and support strong state economies,\u201d\u00a0said Vermont Governor Phil Scott. \u201cThrough this collaborative effort, Vermont and our regional partners in this initiative are better positioned to pursue our aggressive goals to reduce carbon emissions and commit to renewable energy, while keeping energy rates down and putting money back in the pockets of Vermonters.\u201d\n\n\u201cNew York leads the nation\u0027s efforts in strengthening climate security, and through the RGGI program and this latest bipartisan proposal to reduce emissions even further, the investment of proceeds will continue to support and create thousands of jobs and reduce electricity bills for residents,\u201d\u00a0New York\u00a0Governor Andrew Cuomo said. \u201cRGGI\u0027s success exemplifies New York\u0027s commitment to protecting the people of this state by showing the world that we will cut pollution and improve health, while transforming our economy into one that is cleaner, greener, stronger, and more sustainable than ever before.\u201d\n\n\u201cAs a coastal state, Rhode Island is uniquely vulnerable to climate change. Today, I\u0027m taking executive action to endorse RGGI\u0027s stronger, regional approach to climate change,\u201d\u00a0said Rhode Island Governor Gina M. Raimondo. \u201cRhode Island is a leader. We\u0027re the only state in America with an off-shore wind farm, we\u0027re making it easier for homeowners and businesses to install solar, we\u0027re helping our cities and towns invest in green infrastructure, and we\u0027re working to make our energy system ten times cleaner. RGGI plays an important role to make Rhode Island\u0027s energy system cleaner and our green economy stronger.\u201d\n\nIndependent reports by the Analysis Group found that RGGI is generating billions of dollars in net economic benefit and tens of thousands of job-years in the region. Other studies have found that RGGI has saved hundreds of lives, prevented thousands of asthma attacks, and saved $5.7 million in health-related economic costs.\n\nEfforts through RGGI support the implementation of Governor Charlie Baker\u2019s\u00a0Executive Order 569,\u00a0An Order\u00a0Establishing an Integrated Climate Change Strategy for the Commonwealth\u00a0and emission reduction limits established by the Global Warming Solutions Act (GWSA) of 2008. The GWSA requires a GHG emissions reduction of 25 percent below 1990 emissions levels by 2020 and at least an 80 percent reduction by 2050.As of 2014, the Commonwealth had reduced emissions by 21 percent from 1990 levels, leaving about 4 percent remaining to achieve the 2020 goal. In early August, the Department of Environmental Protection\u00a0promulgated six new regulations\u00a0to ensure the Commonwealth is on track to meet its 2020 emission reduction limits. The Executive Order also directs the state to begin planning for climate change adaptation and working with cities and towns across the state to assess vulnerability and build resiliency to address climate change impacts.