A recent study published in the academic journal PLOS-One found that communities that live closest to pollution sources benefit the least from the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative– a 10- state + District of Columbia, market-based strategy for reducing the pollution that intensifies global climate change.
The study entitled, Environmental justice and power plant emissions in the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative states authored by Juan Declet-Barreto and Andrew A. Rosenberg looked at data from the ten states engaged in RGGI and found that:
“In RGGI states the percentage of people of color that live within 0–6.2 miles from power plants is up to 23.5 percent higher than the percent of the white population that lives within those same distance bands, and the percentage of people living in poverty that live within 0–5 miles from power plants is up to 15.3 percent higher than the percent of the population not living in poverty within those same distance bands. More importantly, the transition from coal to natural gas underway before RGGI formally started resulted in large increases in both the number of electric-generating units burning natural gas and total net generation from natural gas in environmental justice communities hosting electric-generating units, compared to other communities. Our findings indicate that power sector carbon mitigation policies’ focusing on aggregate emissions reductions have largely benefitted non-environmental justice communities and have not redressed the fundamental problem of disparities in pollutant burdens between EJ and non-EJ communities.”
To say it plan:
The authors argue that RGGI is increasing pollution in Native, Black, Brown, and poor White communities. Also, the benefits aren’t reaching us either. SMH.
Go in-depth into the study below:
Okay, so what is RGGI anyway?
Well, in 2005 seven governors from the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic regions came together to create the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI, pronounced as “Reggie”) . RGGI is a cap-and-invest strategy and the first mandatory Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emission reduction program in the United States of America. RGGI currently regulates emissions from power plants in 11 states.
Learn how RGGI works by reading this factsheet below or by visiting www.rggi.org