New Englanders Urged to Take Action against Global Warming

The Green Party of the United States urged State legislatures in the Northeast to significantly strengthen the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) recently signed by the governors of Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York and Vermont.

“The proposed compact falls far short of the actions needed to reduce the devastating and accelerating impact of climate change,” stated Greg Gerritt, secretary of the Green Party of Rhode Island. “The seven governors deserve praise for taking action in face of the stonewalling by both the Bush and Clinton administrations, but the public should push them to do much more.” Greens in northeastern states have called for the caps on carbon emissions by power plants to be significantly tightened; for all of the carbon emission permits (rather than the agreed upon 25 percent) to be auctioned off rather than given away to corporations; and for elimination of loopholes that weaken the reduction on greenhouse emissions. “We’re calling for all carbon emission permits under RGGI to be auctioned off, rather than most of them to be given free to existing carbon polluters,” said Mark Dunlea, former chair of the Green Party of New York State and former national coordinator of the Campaign for Safe Energy. “The hundreds of millions of dollars raised annually through the auction process would be used to offset the regressive nature of any ‘energy tax,’ for example, through state supplements to the low-income Home Energy Assistance Program. The rest would be invested in energy efficiency, conservation, and development of renewable energy technologies.” Scientists warn that the original Kyoto goal of a 5 percent reduction to 1991 greenhouse gas levels by 2012 is severely inadequate and urge a 70 percent reduction. The Green Party supports this goal, and notes that RGGI only calls for stabilizing current carbon emissions by 2015 and then reducing those levels by 10 percent by 2020. Greens are skeptical that RGGI, which only addresses power plants, will accomplish even this modest goal.

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