Regional carbon pricing initiatives

bp actively supports regional cap-and-invest programs across the United States.

Green block with the text that says "Policy can boost the economy and drive down carbon."

The case for TCI

Transportation is the largest source of greenhouse gas emissions in the United States, according to the Environmental Protection Agency. Covering emissions from finished gasoline and on-road diesel, the Transportation and Climate Initiative (TCI) program aims for a 26% reduction over its first 10 years.

To achieve that, the program would establish an emissions cap and a rate at which the cap would decrease annually. Fuel suppliers would purchase emissions credits — allocated proportionally among the states — that could be traded in secondary markets. The program would contain stability mechanisms to ensure that costs remain manageable and emissions goals are met.

TCI would thus allow businesses to plan for change over time, rather than suffer the shock of unanticipated change. It would spur innovation by incentivizing the development of less carbon-intensive products. It would also generate revenue that could help states fund critical infrastructure, green jobs, education and other key priorities. And while its immediate costs could be passed on to consumers through gas prices, a predictable evolution and transition to lower-carbon alternatives could significantly reduce emissions and bring consumer prices back down.

Advocating for TCI

The Transportation and Climate Initiative Program (TCI), a regional collaboration seeking to improve transportation, develop a clean energy economy and reduce carbon emissions across 12 East Coast states and the District of Columbia, has proposed a regional cap-and-invest program seeking to reduce carbon emissions from the transportation sector while creating jobs, boosting the economy and modernizing infrastructure.

TCI took a big step forward in 2020, when the governors of Connecticut, Massachusetts and Rhode Island, together with the mayor of the District of Columbia, signed a memorandum of understanding on the program, while several other states signed letters committing to further consideration of the initiative.

Estimates show that the cap-and-invest program would create jobs, increase regional GDP, provide certainty for businesses and reduce emissions.

bp began supporting TCI in 2019, and we’re energized by the progress made so far to help the East Coast implement the program and lead the US in climate policy. TCI harnesses the power of competitive markets to change behaviors and encourage innovation while giving companies the certainty needed to invest and develop new technologies at a speed and scale required for real progress. Programs like these prove we don’t have to choose between the environment and the economy – we can invest in both.

Mary Streett
SVP, communications & advocacy, Americas

Designed by state leaders with help from the Georgetown Climate Center, TCI would complement existing climate programs such as the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI), a successful cap-and-invest carbon pricing system for the power sector. RGGI served as a model for TCI, and bp has proudly championed both.

Expanding the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI)

Launched in 2009, the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) limits carbon emissions from power plants[1] by placing a regional cap on emissions and requiring companies to buy or trade allowances to emit up to the cap limit. The cap decreases annually, so the allowance price rises every year. This system gives industry flexibility to meet reduction targets at the lowest possible cost.

Over the past decade, RGGI states have seen a range of benefits while emissions and electricity costs have declined, according to the Center for Climate and Energy Solutions. Participants currently include Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island, Vermont and Virginia. Pennsylvania and North Carolina are also considering joining.

Numerous transmission lines and towers with a sunset in the background

We urge states to take all steps necessary to participate in TCI and RGGI. Together with a coalition of business leaders, transportation companies, environmental groups and other stakeholders, bp will continue working to get as many states signed on as possible.

  • [1]

    Applies where generators over 25 megawatts are required to possess credits.

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