TCI: Cap and Trade for Cars Would Be Ineffective Climate Policy

National environmental group wants to see real climate action, not weak market-based scheme

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Climate and Energy

Today, Northeast states are releasing a draft agreement on the Transportation Climate Initiative (TCI), a market-based cap and trade program that supporters argue will reduce auto emissions. 

The approach was recently criticized by a coalition of environmental justice organizations, who point out that the program would likely increase pollution in communities struggling with high pollution burdens. 

At least two states — New York and New Jersey — are reportedly not signing the draft memorandum of understanding.

In response, Food & Water Watch Senior Energy Policy Analyst Jim Walsh released the following statement:

“The philosophy behind TCI — essentially, to let the market regulate pollution — has led to increases in pollution in environmental justice communities. These cap and trade programs put the costs on working people while allowing polluters to continue with business as usual. And they are simply ineffective when it comes to their main goal: Reducing the emissions that are driving the climate crisis. We need a more effective, holistic approach when it comes to reducing transportation emissions, not a band-aid on a gaping wound.

“TCI proponents like to point to the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) as a model. But RGGI has not driven a significant decline in power plant emissions. The record on these market pollution schemes show that they actually increase pollution in environmental justice communities, since polluters that prefer the dirty energy status quo can simply pay a small fee to keep dumping pollution as they see fit. 

“Governors who want to see real climate action should pursue meaningful policies — not more of these ineffective market-based schemes.”