Virginia should not leave the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) because the goals of clean energy and economic benefit to Virginia consumers would be harmed otherwise. RGGI is not a tax and should not be treated as a political issue.

What is the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI)

RGGI is an environmental effort among the states of Connecticut, Delaware, Maryland Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, and Virginia to reduce and limit CO2 emissions in each state and collectively through a cap, trade, and exchange regional program.

What is the definition of greenhouse gases?

Greenhouse gases are the atmosphere gases that increase Earth’s surface temperature. When the surface of the Earth is warmed by sunlight, it radiates heat. However, manmade emissions from coal, natural gas, and oil also raise temperatures, causing weather changes.  RGGI’s main idea is that the state’s biggest polluters, the power industries, should be accountable for the amount of pollution they cause to the environment. Pollution allowances are limited, and states that exceed them must exchange emissions credits with other states. Auctions are used by the states to purchase allowances. The RGGI auction revenue investments have contributed 66% of all auction revenue to energy efficiency programs, while 17% has been dedicated to aiding low-income consumers. (Raymond, 127).  

Picture source: DSCOVR’s EPIC Vision of Earth, NASA