July 10, 2019
Since RGGI's inception in 2009, power-sector emissions in the Northeast have dropped 40%, propelled by the program as well as market forces. The new effort, known as the Transportation and Climate Initiative, could slash transportation-sector emissions between 29% to 40% by 2030, according to a report by the Georgetown Climate Center.
That could provide a strong counterpunch to President Trump's rollbacks of environmental regulations, said Vicki Arroyo, executive director of the Georgetown Climate Center, which has emerged as a ringleader of TCI.
"The folks in the bubble around Washington who only think about federal policy might be missing out in thinking that what happens with the Trump administration is really all that's happening on climate," said Arroyo at an interview in her D.C. office near the U.S. Capitol.
"It's definitely bad and very consequential that we don't have federal leadership," she said. "However, in the absence of federal leadership, the states have been leading on this."
Trump may be lending a new urgency to TCI, but planning for the program started well before his presidency.
The Georgetown Climate Center initially convened a conversation among states in 2010. At that time, the discussion was broadly focused on ways of collaborating on clean transportation.
In 2015, states narrowed their focus to the possibility of a regional cap-and-trade system for the transportation sector. And in 2018, they officially committed to designing such a program.