Environment Northeast applauds Obama’s call for climate change action

ROCKPORT, ME – ENE applauds the decision by President Obama to use executive authority to reduce pollution contributing to significant climate change.  The initiatives that the President announced today can channel federal authority to address leading causes of global warming pollution while investing in ways to use energy more wisely. 

“President Obama has delivered a compelling call to take action on climate change. Initiatives to reduce energy waste, update aging power plants, increase renewable energy output, and improve fuel economy will reduce the United States’ contribution to climate change significantly,” said Daniel Sosland, ENE president.

A fully effective response to meeting the challenge of reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions will depend upon state and local actions on a parallel path to the federal government. States and cities have a significant role to play in addressing emissions because they have jurisdiction over a wide range of sectors of the economy – from building energy codes to transportation planning

“The fact is, said Sosland, “effective attention to reduce emissions, modernize our energy and transportation systems and build a stronger, cleaner, more technically advanced approach to energy and transport requires efforts at the state and local levels. States have developed innovative policies that demonstrate how emissions reductions and economic growth can go hand-in-hand.”

Northeast states in particular are already benefitting from programs with objectives similar to those announced by the administration.

“Federal action can build on the demonstrated success by states in reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions,” said Peter Shattuck, Director of Market Initiatives. “Energy sector reforms already undertaken at the regional, state and municipal levels show how these jurisdictions have cost-effectively mitigated climate pollution while reducing energy costs for consumers and businesses, and providing economic benefits.”

Northeast states have increased investments in energy efficiency by over 350% since 2005, reducing the need to operate dirty, expensive power plants while saving customers hundreds of millions of dollars in energy costs.  Under the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) – the nation’s first market-based, GHG-reduction program for power plants in New England, New York, Maryland and Delaware – emissions have declined 44% since 2005, and the program has generated over $1.3 billion to support clean energy programs.  “Investment of this revenue in energy efficiency and other state programs generates $2.3 billion in economic growth across the region and supports over 23,000 job years* of employment,” said Shattuck.  “Renewable energy standards in Northeast states have increased output from wind, solar, and other clean generation sources by 13% from 2005 levels, displacing more polluting forms of energy generation and reducing the need for fossil fuels.”

As policies announced today by the Obama administration take effect, concerted, parallel action in states and cities will remain central to reducing emissions and developing the next generation of programs to transform local energy systems.

*one job year represents full time work for one year

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ENE is a non-profit organization that researches and advocates innovative policies that tackle our environmental challenges while promoting sustainable economies. ENE is at the forefront of state and regional efforts to combat global warming with solutions that promote clean energy, clean air and healthy forests.