An Opportunity for the Northeast to Lead - NECEC's Perspective on the Paris Climate Agreement

Last week’s news that President Trump would withdraw the United States from the Paris Climate Accord was especially disappointing for our region’s clean energy industry. Please read NECEC’s press statement on what this means for the country’s historic leadership in driving innovative technologies and new competitive industries, while reinforcing the importance of state, city, regions, and business partnership to accelerate our region’s clean energy and climate leadership.
 
We commend Northeast Governors Cuomo, Baker, Raimondo, Scott and Malloy who urged the White House to stay in the Paris Agreement and then, following last week’s news, joined with other states to form the US Climate Alliance to fill the gap of government support for climate policy and clean energy progress.
 
Despite our success in recent years in dramatically reducing carbon emissions while scaling clean energy deployment and contributing to growth in jobs and the economy, there is still very important work to be done to advance clean energy here in the Northeast. This includes extending and increasing our Renewable Portfolio Standards to drive cost-effective clean energy deployment, extending and broadening the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative and finding new ways to invest in and support early-stage clean energy entrepreneurs.
 
The Paris withdrawal is not the only concern we see coming out of Washington.  As noted in this weekend’s Boston Globe, federal proposals to drastically reduce funding for the Department of Energy’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy and ARPA-E program are major threats to our world-class cleantech innovation economy and to early-stage projects, companies, and innovators.
 
While we strongly disagree with the decision to pull the country out of the Paris Climate Accord, we are very encouraged and empowered by the strong reaction from businesses, states, cities, and regions to come together and increase our commitment to clean energy progress. 

Our region has proven that clean energy progress can be both good for the economy and the environment. Continuing this progress needs the clean energy business community as full partners to our states and cities, innovating to bring to market valuable and cost-effective solutions for renewable energy, storage, efficiency, microgrids, intelligent and modernized electricity networks, smart and flexible demand, decarbonized transportation and other areas. 

Our efforts to ensure that the Northeast remains a clean energy leader and a model for a strong clean energy economy are more important than ever. Please stay engaged with NECEC as we forge ahead in this important work by attending NECEC events, becoming an NECEC member to engage in our policy advocacy, and supporting our region's cleantech entrepreneurs.

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Peter Rothstein

Peter is the President of NECEC (Northeast Clean Energy Council and NECEC Institute)