How and Why RGGI Works

Date Published: 
Tue, 03/23/2010

Sean Pool. Climate Progress. March 23, 2010. 

"The Proof is in the Pudding" provides a thorough introduction to the largest carbon pricing system currently operating in the U.S. The northeastern Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI). Pool notes that RGGI’s current carbon price is too low to dramatically affect regional energy habits. Low prices do little to steer industry away from status quo dirty energy sources, while limiting clean energy investment opportunities. But even the relatively small amount of revenue generated by the auctions ($583 million at publication) allows for expanded government investment.

Investment is largely targeted towards “clean energy technologies and energy efficiency programs that benefit consumers—reducing energy bills and creating jobs at the same time". Pool provides a sample list of positive outcomes, including specific jobs created or preserved. Lastly, he rebuts the conservative idea that carbon pricing would erect an immense new bureaucratic structure. According to Pool, RGGI administrative costs are a mere 0.5 percent of costs, paying for a miniscule, yet effective, staff of five.