Northeast states pledge to cut transportation emissions

Eight Northeast and mid-Atlantic states pledged Tuesday to cooperate on a new system to limit greenhouse gas emissions from burning transportation fuels like gasoline and diesel.

In a joint statement, the states and Washington, D.C., said they’ll formulate a detailed plan within a year to cap emissions and direct more resources toward low-carbon transportation, among other goals.

The pact is being endorsed by Connecticut, Delaware, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia, and D.C., but those participants hope to get more onboard.

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“Emissions from transportation account for the largest portion of the region’s carbon pollution and a recent report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change found that ambitious reductions are needed within the next decade to avoid dangerous impacts to public health, infrastructure, and the environment,” the states said in their joint statement.

“Advancing low-carbon transportation solutions presents an opportunity for our region to improve the way people and goods move from place to place while addressing the threats posed by carbon and other pollution.”

They said they would put together a system that “would cap and reduce carbon emissions from the combustion of transportation fuels through a cap-and-invest program or other pricing mechanism, and allow each ... jurisdiction to invest proceeds from the program into low-carbon and more resilient transportation infrastructure.”

The pact is modeled in part on the decade-old Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, a cap-and-trade system among Northeast states that is focused on reducing greenhouse gas emissions from the power sector.

Due to that program, other efforts to reduce emissions and cheap natural gas and renewable energy, transportation in recent years has eclipsed power generation as the top source of greenhouse gas emissions.