Groups call for 25% reduction through efficiency, clean power, good pollution cap
Portland and Augusta, Maine — Today, the Natural Resources Council of Maine and Environment Maine released a report that shows how much global warming pollution comes from the power plants that supply electricity to homes from Delaware to Maine. “Actions at relatively few plants will make a big impact and enable the region to reduce a significant amount of global warming pollution,” the report said.
“Most of this global warming pollution comes from just a handful of power plants,” said Sue Jones, energy project director for the Natural Resources Council of Maine. “Cleaning up these plants will significantly reduce the region’s contribution to global warming.”
The environmental groups want to reduce by one-quarter the global warming carbon dioxide emissions from Northeast power plants by 2020. This would be accomplished through increased energy efficiency, more clean energy sources like wind and a new program to allow plants to trade emissions credits to reach the goal in a flexible, cost-effective way.
Northeastern governors are currently developing a regional “cap and trade” program that would limit and reduce the amount of global warming pollution from power plants region-wide. The program would set tough environmental standards — an emissions “cap” — then let companies that exceed the standards “trade” some of their emissions allowances to companies that don’t.
“Emissions caps and trading have already worked to cut sulfur dioxide. It is time to try this approach for global warming pollution too,” said Jones.
“We need to make significant investments in clean renewable energy,” said Matthew Davis, Advocate of Environment Maine. “Wind, solar and tidal power projects would protect consumers from high natural gas prices and allow Maine to achieve our global warming pollution reduction goals.”
Energy efficiency, clean energy sources and a global warming pollution cap would benefit the Northeast by insulating the region’s economy from fossil fuel price volatility, encouraging new clean energy producers and energy efficiency companies in the region, and establishing the region as an exporter of technology and expertise.
While the Bush administration continues to buck the rest of the G-8 and Kyoto signatories by refusing to tackle global warming, and the Senate has been unable to adopt mandatory limits on global warming emissions, state and regional action is viewed as more and more likely and necessary.
“Governor Baldacci promised to take action to cut power plant global warming pollution by the end of the summer,” said Davis. “He and the other Governors are up against an impending deadline.”
The report analyzed emissions from 188 electric generators in a nine-state region including New England, New York, New Jersey, and Delaware, using data from the Federal Department of Energy on facility fuel use during 2004.
Read the full report