Carbon Pricing Works: An Opportunity For New Hampshire To Lead On Clean Energy

A Businesses for a Healthy Climate report

The Clean Power Plan, issued by the EPA in August 2015, requires certain carbon-pollution reductions from the electric-power sector by 2030 and gives states the flexibility to design their own implementation plans. This Clean Air Act rule-making provides an unprecedented opportunity for New Hampshire to put in place a carbon-pricing program that accelerates the state’s shift to a vibrant economy, one powered by clean energy and one in which clean energy provides opportunities for both employment and significant capital investments.

Businesses for a Healthy Climate, a project of the Wind Energy Foundation, has been working with community leaders in New Hampshire to educate New Hampshire citizens and decision-makers about the business reasons for, and economic opportunities around, reducing carbon pollution. Our initiative is focused on mobilizing support for carbon pricing as a key market-based solution to climate change, while avoiding taking a position about which approach to pricing would best suit New Hampshire.

This report highlights the importance of seizing the opportunity provided by the Clean Power Plan to have a robust debate in New Hampshire about solutions to carbon pollution. It provides the following important context for this debate:

  • Business leaders, government leaders, and economists from across the political spectrum are strongly advocating for carbon pricing because it is a proven market-based solution to carbon pollution and can help drive a shift toward a vibrant clean-energy economy.
  • The Clean Power Plan gives states the flexibility to enact a variety of types of carbon pricing to meet their Clean Air Act responsibilities, and thus New Hampshire has the opportunity to work with its Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) partners to update and strengthen this carbon-pricing program in a way that meets the needs of its businesses and residents.
  • New Hampshire can achieve multiple goals beyond cutting carbon pollution with a carbon-pricing program that builds on the success of RGGI, including stimulating job growth and economic development, reducing distortionary taxes, protecting consumers from rate spikes, and reducing hazardous pollutants from coal-fired power plants.
  • Lessons from RGGI and two other carbon-pricing programs under way in the U.S. and Canada can inform the state’s decision-making on program design.

In summary, New Hampshire can transform its economy and become a leader on climate change by seizing the historic opportunity provided by the Clean Power Plan to strengthen RGGI. Strengthening this model carbon-pricing program will help build momentum for an economy-wide carbon-pricing program at the national level, which will be critical in order for the United States to exercise global leadership on climate change.

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