Pennsylvania to Join Northeast’s Carbon Market

The Keystone State is the nation’s No. 2 natural gas producer and No. 3 in coal.

October 07, 2019

ALEXANDRIA—Pennsylvania is one of the nation’s largest coal and natural gas producers and has just announced a move to join the Northeast’s carbon market to help reduce pollution from the electricity sector, reports Inside Climate News.

The Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) is the first mandatory market-based program in the U.S. to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. RGGI 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. Because RGGI puts a price on carbon in the electricity marketplace, it reduces demand for those fuels—with coal taking the biggest hit at first.

Inside Climate News reports that Pennsylvania’s move marks the largest expansion of the multistate RGGI initiative since its inception a decade ago and a milestone in the drive by states to counter the impact of the Trump Administration's retreat from climate action.

The initiative comes from Gov. Tom Wolf, who expects Pennsylvania to join within the next two years, pending legislative approval.

Since RGGI started in 2009, participating states have cut their carbon emissions from electric generation by 47%—90% faster than the rest of the country, according to a study by the clean energy nonprofit Acadia Center.