PSR Statement on Proposed RGGI Caps
April 19, 2017
"Since 2009, Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) states have saved $5.7 billion as well as pain, suffering and days lost from work and school. That's because the RGGI program has led to better health outcomes by reducing rates of heart attacks, respiratory illnesses and overall adult mortality.
"The RGGI states are now determining the next phase of the carbon cap-and-invest program and have proposed new carbon cap levels. Unfortunately, the proposed caps don't go far enough in protecting health from harmful air pollution and the effects of climate change. Under the proposed caps, the most vulnerable—children, elderly, low-income communities and communities of color—will be placed at risk.
"What we need is to strengthen RGGI by implementing at least a 5% annual decrease in the cap on carbon.
"Further, we must ensure that funds earned through RGGI be heavily invested in communities that disproportionately face the harmful health effects of air pollution and climate change. Funds should be made available to extend energy efficiency and weatherization services to renters and low-income families, provide transition assistance for workers who will be displaced by retiring fossil fuel plants, and develop new community solar projects.
"Climate scientists believe that we are nearing a tipping point for climate change beyond which our best efforts will be ineffectual. Given the dismantling of our climate and air protections at the federal level, we need strong state level action now. Physicians for Social Responsibility calls on the RGGI states to lead the way."