The Northeast has been leading the national fight against greenhouse gas emissions while building a clean, sustainable economy that could help the rest of the nation.
According to a report issued this month called “A Record of Leadership: How Northeastern States are Cutting Global Warming Pollution and Building a Clean Economy” the strategy seen in the Northeast could and should be mimicked across the country.
Between 2000 and 2009, ten Northeastern states participated in a project called the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) with the goal being to substantially cut down on greenhouse gas emissions while transitioning to a clean energy economy.
The project crossed state lines and, in many cases, partisan lines. The Northeast, as used in the report, is shorthand to represent ten states participating in the RGGI: the six New England states, New York, New Jersey, Maryland and Delaware.
On virtually all counts, the RGGI has been proven a success. Between the aforementioned years, the Northeastern states cut CO2 emissions 20% faster than the rest of the nation while the region’s GDP grew 87% faster than the rest of the nation.
Let me repeat that. . .
While the region's GDP grew 87% faster than the rest of the nation.
So much for the argument that efforts to cut greenhouse gas emissions will hinder economic growth!
Also worth noting is the huge growth in renewable energy integration in the region.
In 2000, there were only 25 MW of installed wind capacity. By 2010, that number rose to 1,671 MW. Solar capacity grew as well, up to 397 MW by 2010, of which 70% was installed between 2000 and 2009. Because of these efforts, CO2 emissions in 2009 were 15% less than in 2000.
You can read the entire report here.