Today Senator Jay Costa circulated a cosponsor memo for legislation that will reduce carbon pollution from Pennsylvania’s power sector to help address climate change and ensure that Pennsylvania remains economically competitive in a zero-carbon energy future.
The legislation requires at least a 90% reduction in-state emissions by 2040, either through directly joining a regional effort like the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI), or by having Pennsylvania establish its own program that in turn could be linked to other state programs. Equally important, the legislation seeks to address the issue of emissions leakage by having the Department of Environmental Protection and Public Utility Commission work with PJM Interconnection to help ensure multi-state consistency and equity.
In addition, the bill provides that revenue generated from the emissions market be directed towards programs that promote clean energy, mitigate energy costs, and assist workers and communities impacted by the changes in electric generation.
The Pennsylvania Environmental Council (PEC) has advocated for an approach that is technology-neutral and adaptive to incentivize the most cost-effective emission reductions and generate revenue for investments in energy efficiency and affordability, renewable technologies, and economic and job development. In January of this year PEC expressly called, among other measures, for Pennsylvania to join RGGI to set a price on carbon emissions. Other recent efforts like the Department of Environmental Protection’s Climate Action Plan (April 2019) have also identified a market-based approach as an effective option for the commonwealth.
Senator Costa’s legislation matches squarely with PEC’s approach and would establish a key piece of the larger framework Pennsylvania needs to get to a zero-emissions profile by mid-century. PEC applauds the introduction of this legislation, and looks forward to working with members of the General Assembly and governor in the months ahead to advance workable solutions to address climate change.
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