Four Northeastern states: Connecticut, Delaware, Massachusetts and New York emitted less carbon dioxide from fossil fuel consumption in 2007 than they did in 1990, according to energy information data compiled in a study by Environment America.
All four states have put in place Renewable Energy Standards requiring utilities to buy more clean energy, and all four signed on to the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative that is uses cap and trade to fund a substitution of clean renewable energy to replace older dirty fossil electricity plants.
The study found that the biggest factor in all four states was the shift to cleaner forms of electricity.
The average increase in gross state product was 65% during that period, ruling out reduction in economic activity as the cause.
All four have RES requirements to add more renewable energy to the grid: Connecticut 27% by 2020, Delaware 18% by 2019, Massachusetts 15% by 2020, and green, green New York 25% by 2013. The requirement excludes nuclear power. Connecticut was already recognized by the EPA as early as 2007 for already getting 12% of its electricity from renewable sources.
The studied period is instructive, as it ended prior to the 2008 hike in gas prices and global recession that impacted virtually every sector of the economy in 2008 and continued into 2009 – ruling out the bank deregulation recession as the cause for the drop.
These states are relatively small, however, so their overall effect on the nation’s overall emissions are small, but this shows that America actually can do what Europe is doing to lower its greenhouse emissions with the right legislation.