|Action||Reduce and Cap Carbon Dioxide from Fossil Fuel Fired Electric Power Generating Facilities (Rev. C17)|
|Comment Period||Ends 4/9/2018|
An Emissions Change Vital for the Future
Reducing and regulating CO2 emissions from electric power facilities is an action that not only will benefit the environment and society within Virginia, but also ensures Virginia is eligible for the proposed CO2 Budget Trading Program for 2020; a plan that could decrease fossil fuel emissions throughout the states. By slowly reducing carbon emissions (about 3% or 33-34 million tons each year), Virginia can progress further into the clean energy sector, where revenue for clean energy businesses statewide has increased from $300 million in 2014 to $1.5 billion in 2016. Leading the state into this market can allow administrators and policymakers to better allocate resources to better combat the threats of climate change. Some of these threats include rising storm surges and flooding along Virginia’s coast, which could impact up to 420,000 properties and cost $92 billion in reconstruction costs. This proposed policy change is much more than just reduced CO2 emissions from factories, it is a step towards progressing Virginia as one of the pioneering states replacing fossil fuel energy with clean energy. Once this policy change is enacted, administrators can regulate emissions to ensure Virginia’s regulations are “trading-ready” through the use of market-based mechanisms that allows the trading of CO2 allowances through a multi-state trade program. This would allow CO2 emission sources within Virginia and the RGGI states to share emission allowances. States that do not qualify for the trading program will be influenced to meet the regulations and join the trading program which stimulates the market through the auctioning of CO2 allowances; as a result U.S. fossil fuel pollutants would begin to decrease steadily each year. The only potential difficulty with this plan will be creating the incentive for more states to join the multi-state trading program. While reducing CO2 emissions is beneficial for the environment, in certain states reducing emissions could cause potential economic downturn; it will take more than just the ability to trade allowances for states outside of Virginia. However in the short-term, this proposed policy change is going to benefit Virginia tremendously, both economically and environmentally, allowing the state to better prepare for the coming threats of climate change.