DEP AND BPU ANNOUNCE MILESTONE IN REGIONAL EFFORT TO
COMBAT GLOBAL WARMING
(06/48) TRENTON -- New Jersey Department of Environmental
Commissioner Lisa P. Jackson and New Jersey Board of Public Utilities
President Jeanne M. Fox announced that New Jersey and six other
states have released a set of model regulations aimed at reducing
carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from power plants. New Jersey is
a participant in the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, a cooperative
effort by Northeastern states to reduce carbon dioxide emissions
- a greenhouse gas that causes global warming.
The regulations establish a mandatory cap-and-trade program to
reduce CO2 emissions from power plants, the first such program of
its kind in U.S. history. The unique program relies on a market-based
approach to curb power plant emissions, while at the same time promoting
"Global warming is one of the most pressing environmental
challenges of our time," said Commissioner Jackson. "This
market-based strategy will serve as a national model for reducing
greenhouse gas pollution."
"This regional approach will put us on a path to address our
contribution to global warming in a way that will help to expand
economic growth in our state and make us more economically competitive.
The more wisely we generate and use electricity, the better our
competitive position," said President Fox. "Together with
our fellow Northeast states, we will have a compounded impact in
reducing greenhouse gas emissions, by generating more energy with
clean and renewable fuels and by using energy more efficiently in
our homes and businesses."
In December 2005, the governors of seven states (New Jersey, New
York, Delaware, Connecticut, New Hampshire, Vermont and Maine) reached
a landmark agreement outlining the key components of a program to
address global warming. The agreement established under RGGI specified
that the states would work to create draft regulations, which would
be subject to public meetings and a 60-day comment period. The model
set of regulations reflects and incorporates many of the comments
received. New Jersey will use the model rule as a starting point
for writing its own regulations to implement the program.
Under the plan, regional CO2 emissions from power plants will be
capped at 121 million tons per year beginning in 2009 through 2015
(a level approximately equal to 1990 emissions), and will be reduced
to 10 percent below this level by 2019.
The cap-and-trade program established under the model rules sets
limits on power plant emissions across the region, but does not
restrict the emissions of any single power plant. A power plant
must hold an emissions credit, known as an "allowance,"
to cover each ton of its emissions. It can purchase more allowances
to cover more emissions, but since the number of allowances is fixed,
there are fewer allowances remaining to cover other plants' emissions.
As a result, emissions from plants across the entire region cannot
exceed the regional cap.
The program outlined in the model regulations provides additional
flexibility by allowing power companies to meet some reduction requirements
through the use of offset credits, which represent approved emissions
reductions achieved outside the electric sector. Examples of offset
credits include energy efficiency measures to reduce natural gas
consumption in the building sector and the capture of methane from
The RGGI plan also provides that at least 25 percent of the emissions
allowances will be used to benefit energy consumers--a provision
that New Jersey strongly advocated for inclusion. Under this mechanism,
electric generators would purchase these allowances, and the funds
generated would be used to support additional energy efficiency,
clean energy technology investments and consumer rebates to protect
low-income consumers. New Jersey has stated its intention to dedicate
a significantly larger portion of allowances to support consumer
These regulations and New Jersey's participation in RGGI reflect
New Jersey's ongoing commitment to improve air quality and reduce
pollution. In December 2005, New Jersey adopted new rules to reduce
ozone, fine particles and toxic air pollution by establishing new,
cleaner vehicle emission standards. The vehicle emission rules adopt
the California Low Emission Vehicle standards for CO2, and apply
them to new vehicles delivered for sale in New Jersey starting Jan.
1, 2009. Automobiles are also significant contributors of greenhouse
Global warming is a serious threat to New Jersey, with projections
forecasting average temperature increases between two and 10 degrees
Fahrenheit by 2100. Such severe climate change would contribute
to air quality problems by exacerbating smog and ozone.
For more information, please visit http://www.rggi.org/.