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Group Calls For Cap-And-Trade On Transportation Emissions In New England

Nick Ut

A coalition of environmentalists and power generators is calling for the creation of a regional cap-and-trade market for carbon emissions from the transportation sector. They’re modeling the market on a successful effort to reduce carbon dioxide emissions from electricity generation.

Since 2009, the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, or RGGI, has helped the New England states reduce power plant CO2 emissions by more than a third. Last year, transportation-related emissions outpaced electricity sector emissions for the first time this century. With many states enacting laws requiring broad overall greenhouse gas reductions over time — more than RGGI alone is likely to achieve — the new coalition says coordinated action is needed.

“Not a single major policy, particularly on a regional basis, has been applied to transportation,” says Dan Dolan, executive director of the New England Power Generators Association.

Dolan joined leaders of four environmental groups, including the Natural Resources Defense Council and the Acadia Center, in a “call-for-action” letter to New England governors. The coalition says a regional, market-based incentive system could accelerate the adoption of electric vehicles and public transit.

This report comes from the New England News Collaborative, eight public media companies coming together to tell the story of a changing region, with support from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.

A Columbia University graduate, Fred began his journalism career as a print reporter in Vermont, then came to Maine Public in 2001 as its political reporter, as well as serving as a host for a variety of Maine Public Radio and Maine Public Television programs. Fred later went on to become news director for New England Public Radio in Western Massachusetts and worked as a freelancer for National Public Radio and a number of regional public radio stations, including WBUR in Boston and NHPR in New Hampshire.