RGGI’s failure to count biomass CO2 means emissions “reductions” are dramatically overstated

The Northeastern Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI), which is the carbon trading system for a number of states in the Northeast, doesn’t count the CO2 emitted by biomass-burning power plants, and therefore doesn’t require those plants to purchase carbon allowances.

Our analysis of RGGI’s own projections for CO2 emissions shows that if biomass CO2 were counted, actual emissions could be more than 40% higher than are currently projected.

Not counting bioenergy emissions encourages dependence on bioenergy and increases CO2 going into the atmosphere, even while the power sector gets to claim they are reducing emissions.  RGGI’s failure to take bioenergy emissions into account further sets a bad precedent for future carbon trading as states comply with EPA’s Clean Power Plan.

PFPI, Clean Air Task Force, and The Center for Biological Diversity submitted comments to RGGI, asking that the program conduct modeling to assess the effect of treating bioenergy emissions as zero, when in fact, per megawatt-hour, emissions from wood-burning power plants are greater than those from coal plants.  That testimony is downloadable here.

The Natural Resources Defense Council also submitted a letter – downloadable here.


Partnership for Policy Integrity