Rhode Island General Treasurer Seth Magaziner has joined a coalition of 11 state and local Treasurers and Comptrollers in calling on the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to halt the Trump administration’s repeal of the Clean Power Plan – an EPA regulation that significantly reduces greenhouse house gas (GHG) emissions – warning that the repeal puts the nation’s business operations, and economic well-being of all Americans at risk.
“In Rhode Island, government, non-profits and the business community are all making commitments to transition toward a low carbon and sustainable economy – creating good jobs, while also protecting residents and the inherent beauty of the Ocean State,” said Rhode Island Treasurer Magaziner. “The Clean Power Plan is an important tool that will lessen the impacts of climate change and provide a more certain future for our health, our environment, and economy.”
In October, the Trump administration announced its intention to roll back the EPA’s Clean Power Plan, developed under the Obama Administration, to reduce carbon dioxide emissions from electrical power generation by 32 percent by 2030, relative to 2005 levels. According to the EPA the plan would produce public health and climate benefits worth an estimated $34 billion to $54 billion per year in 2030 and would avoid 1,500 to 3,600 premature deaths.
The coalition, which is led by New York State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli, also includes California State Treasurer John Chiang, California State Controller Betty T. Yee, Connecticut State Treasurer Denise Nappier, Iowa State Treasurer Michael Fitzgerald, Illinois State Treasurer Michael Frerichs, Maryland State Treasurer Nancy Kopp, New Mexico State Treasurer Tim Eichenberg, New York City Comptroller Scott Stringer and State of Vermont Treasurer Beth Pearce.
“The movement to a lower carbon economy is already underway and nations around the world have set goals and established programs to ensure that their economies benefit from this shift,'” DiNapoli said. “If we do not get on board with lowering GHG emissions it will have terrible environmental and economic consequences. The White House cannot afford to stick America’s head in the sand when it comes to creating a cleaner economy. If we don’t act now, American businesses are at risk of lagging in the world marketplace.”
In their comments to the agency, the Comptrollers and Treasurers highlighted research that finds the economic costs of increasing temperatures due to anthropogenic climate change could be substantial. Recent research suggests that each 1°C increase in temperature will cost the U.S. 1.2 percent of its gross domestic product per year on average. Climate change also poses a significant risk to investors with potential portfolio losses of $4.2 trillion globally, or 3 percent of the current market capitalization of all the world’s stock markets, through 2100. Additionally, the Comptrollers and Treasurers argue the EPA’s proposed repeal poses an unacceptable risk to the financial health of states and municipalities, and would increase the risk of loss of life and property in the communities they represent.