Benefits of RGGI and RPS
December 14. 2017 12:55AM
To the Editor: In October, the Union Leader published an editorial claiming that the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) is a “bad idea.” Under RGGI, nine Northeastern states agreed to reduce carbon emissions by requiring electricity-generating plants to buy permits to produce them. The editorial complained that RGGI raises electricity prices. Similarly, a November column in this newspaper criticized New Hampshire’s Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS), which encourages sustainable energy sources such as wind and solar. The column stated that, like RGGI, RPS adversely affects electricity prices.
Assuming these assertions are indeed true, they still strike me as a case of “penny-wise and pound-foolish.” So far, predictions of climate scientists have been shockingly accurate. Weather extremes have become increasingly intense. We are noticing measurable sea level rise, which, in some places, involves “sunny day flooding.” Diseases previously considered tropical are spreading, so that now in New Hampshire mosquitoes are not only annoying, but may carry dangerous diseases like Triple E. Scientists, formerly reluctant to attribute the severity of droughts and storms to higher temperatures, are lately estimating the degree to which they do so.
Scientists have also predicted that climate disruptions will cause an increase in human conflict and mass migration. I believe we have seen this in Syria and parts of Africa, where people have lost their livelihoods, and governments have not helped them adapt. Economists call such impacts “externalities,” costs not immediately noticeable but certainly contributing to society’s financial burden.