RGGI Ratchets Down the Cap: We’re Still Going to Have to Adapt

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It was a busy week on the climate change front in Boston.  First, RGGI announced a new Model Rule.  Under the new Model Rule, summarized here, the 2014 cap would be reduced by 45%, from 165 million tons to 91 million tons.  Because such a sharp decrease in allowances will be expected to cause an increase in allowance prices, RGGI has now provided a safety valve, known as the cost containment reserve.  The CCR will make additional allowances available – 5 million allowances in 2014 and 10 million allowances thereafter – if the price exceeds a trigger, which will begin at $4/ton in 2014 and increase by $2 each year until 2017, at which point it will increase by 2.5%/year.

In the meantime, The Boston Harbor Association released its report on Preparing for the Rising Tide, which includes a number of scary figures showing just what the impacts of climate change might be in Boston.  The TBHA report, in turn, was the platform used by the City of Boston to announce its latest push for adaptation.  Mayor Menino and Brian Swett, Chief of Environment and Energy for the City, made clear that adaptation is a top priority. This is not just about new development and it’s not just about sea walls.  It’s also about the preparedness of existing buildings and other infrastructure.

Finally, because the irony is too sweet to ignore, I have to note that I’m typing this after shoveling about 30 inches of snow from around our house and I’m not going to be barbequing any time soon.