How the Northeast Created 18,000 Jobs - And Cut Pollution

Authors: Green For All

Cross-posted from Green Jobs Index

A report titled “INVESTMENT OF PROCEEDS FROM RGGI CO2 ALLOWANCES” isn’t something that really invites you to read it. Which is too bad - because it’s worth a look.

First, some background. RGGI stands for Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative. The initiative put a limit on polluting carbon dioxide emissions in the Northeast, which power plants could exceed if they bought permits to do so. The proceeds from those permits were then invested in energy efficiency projects and clean-energy technologies. The short-hand for this, of course, is cap-and-trade.

The folks at the NRDC dug through this report chronicling the program - and found some remarkable successes.

  • Over the time period measured, carbon dioxide emissions dropped 30%.
  • More than $789 million dollars has been generated and invested in mostly green technologies and jobs.
  • Energy costs are, on average, 15-30% lower, thanks to weatherization and assistance programs.

But from our standpoint, this is the most exciting finding:

Energy efficiency programs funded by RGGI through December 2010 will create nearly 18,000 job years – that is, the equivalent of 18,000 full-time jobs that last one year (these jobs are created when states invest in good programs and when energy consumers use their savings in their communities).

That’s a remarkable finding. The program cut emissions, dropped utility rates, invested in green technologies - and created thousands of jobs? It really shouldn’t be surprising. The findings here mirror the success of the EPA’s cap-and-trade system for reducing sulfur emissions - and the resulting acid rain.

The NRDC’s summary also gives specific examples of successes in various states that is worth a read. Or you can read the report itself - if you don’t mind the title.

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