Renewing RGGI: Do nothing, but more of itEDITORIAL
August 28. 2017 10:06PM
Last week’s announcement that the nine states that make up the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) have agreed to extend the program through 2030 came as a surprise to anyone watching the New Hampshire Legislature.
After all, no such bill has even been considered. It turns out that RGGI Inc., the New York-based board that administers the carbon cap and trade program, jumped the gun. The agreement announced last week is merely a recommended starting point.
Under RGGI, fossil-fuel power plants must bid on the right to emit carbon dioxide, with the proceeds going to state regulators to hand out to favored green energy cronies.
New Hampshire has mitigated the market manipulating damage of the program by returning RGGI auction receipts to ratepayers. That change upgrades RGGI from harmful to merely useless.
RGGI defenders credit the program with reducing CO2 emissions from covered power plants. But that reduction stemmed from breakthroughs in fracking technology that dramatically lowered the cost of natural gas, which replaced carbon-intensive coal in our regional energy mix. Fracking lowered the need for carbon allowances so much that it tanked the RGGI market.
The same do-gooders now want to reduce regional carbon caps by an additional 30 percent by 2030. Rather than renewing the pact for another decade, New Hampshire should walk away.