New Jersey Embraces an Idea It Once Rejected: Make Utilities Pay to Emit Carbon
January 29, 2018 | New York Times | Brad Plumer
Led by new governor Phil Murphy, New Jersey is rejoining the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI), a cap-and-trade program that includes nine other northeastern states. In these states, power plants must buy permits for the carbon dioxide they emit, with the revenue often going to energy efficiency programs. RGGI states have reduced electricity emissions by 40% since 2009, without increasing electricity prices. New Jersey had left RGGI in 2012, but it now joins the states that aim to price carbon in the absence of federal climate policies. -WA
Note: In addition to RGGI’s cap-and-trade program, Princeton Student Climate Initiative is exploring a carbon fee and dividend policy for New Jersey. Read the group’s draft white paper here, and email Jonathan Lu (email@example.com) if you’re interested in working with them!
Germany Is Abandoning Its Climate Goals for 2020. What Happens Next?
January 10, 2018 | QZ | Akshat Rathi
Germany recently decided to give up its plans made to reduce “emissions” by 40% of 1990 levels by the year 2020. Optimists say Energiewende, or energy transition, would have been possible if not for the closing of nuclear plants and use of fossil fuels to account for the intermittency of renewables. However, most point out that Germany’s failure to reach its climate goals makes prospects bleak for other countries, given Germany’s historic push for renewable energy and their purchase of half of the world’s solar cells at one point. This outcome has us questioning the likelihood of claims that renewables can power 50% of Europe’s power by 2030. -AA