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Ceres Touts Economic Opportunity of Carbon Standards for Existing Power Plants at Boston EPA Listening Session
During a listening session hosted today by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Ceres staff members testified to the economic opportunity provided by addressing climate change and spoke out in support of the EPA’s proposed rules for existing power plants.
“A carbon standard for power plants will send a clear market signal to owners and operators of power plants that they need to find cost effective ways to reduce pollution,” Dan Bakal, Director of Ceres’ Electric Power Program, said at the hearing today. “Natural gas-fired power plants provided 31 percent of U.S. electricity in 2012 – up from just 22 percent in 2007. Meanwhile renewable energy generation has grown from 8.3 percent to 12.1 percent over that period, and electric utility energy efficiency programs have grown from $2.7 billion in 2007 to $6.9 billion in 2011, saving 107 terawatt hours (TWh) of energy in 2011 alone – enough to power 9.3 million homes for one year.” Read the full testimony here.
Ceres’ support for the EPA standards comes following the success of a five-year-old regional market-based program to reduce carbon pollution from the power sector across nine Northeastern states. The Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) caps greenhouse gas emissions from power plants in Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, Rhode Island and Vermont, and requires major power producers to buy allowances at auction for each ton of carbon dioxide they emit.
RGGI is generating greater rates of economic growth in each participating state than would have occurred without a carbon price, according to an Analysis Group report. Investments in energy efficiency through RGGI result in 1.6 billion in economic development primarily by creating more than 16,000 jobs and saving electricity customers approximately $1.3 billion.
Earlier this year, in a similar effort to demonstrate strong support for carbon standards, Ceres coordinated support from nearly two-dozen major U.S. companies and 50 investors with more than $900 billion of collective assets for the carbon pollution standards proposed by the EPA for new power plants. The business group signed a letter to the President in September, urging him to finalize the rule soon and proceed with plans to reduce carbon pollution from existing power plants.
Reading a statement from Business for Innovative Climate and Energy Policy – an advocacy coalition of businesses committed to working with policymakers to make meaningful climate and energy changes – Ceres’ Eleanor Fort said, “Leading businesses need the support of policymakers who can help us move toward a low-carbon economy. Carbon pollution standards will set clear market signals that will drive long-term investments, spur technological innovation, and create jobs. We encourage the EPA to create and implement strong existing source standards.” Read the full testimony here.
EPA currently is working on standards for new and existing power plants to meet specific emission limits. The proposed rules for new power plants were released in September. The proposed rule would require new coal plants, for example, to restrict emissions of heat-trapping carbon dioxide to 1,100 pounds per megawatt hour, down from the current range of 1,800 to 2,100 pounds using conventional technology. The discussion today in Boston is to begin work on developing proposed standards for existing power plants.
Learn more at www.ceres.org.
Ceres is a nonprofit organization mobilizing business and investor leadership on climate change, water scarcity and other sustainability challenges. Ceres directs the Investor Network on Climate Risk (INCR), a network of over 100 institutional investors with collective assets totaling more than $12 trillion. Ceres also directs Business for Innovative Climate & Energy Policy (BICEP), an advocacy coalition of nearly 30 businesses committed to working with policy makers to pass meaningful energy and climate legislation. For more information, visit http://www.ceres.org or follow on Twitter @CeresNews.