Federal

The Center for Climate and Energy Solutions seeks to inform the design and implementation of federal policies that will significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Drawing from its extensive peer-reviewed published works, in-house policy analyses, and tracking of current legislative proposals, the Center provides research, analysis, and recommendations to policymakers in Congress and the Executive Branch. Read More
 

Statement: Response to President Bush's Climate Change Speech

Statement of Eileen Claussen, President
Pew Center on Global Climate Change

April 16, 2008

The proposal announced by President Bush today is a step backwards for U.S. climate policy. In 2002 the administration laid out a plan that allowed U.S. emissions to grow until 2012 - the current proposal will allow our emissions to grow until 2025. This proposal is a non-starter both domestically and internationally. The only good news is that this is irrelevant - both in the U.S. and globally - because this administration has only 9 months left in office and we have three presidential candidates who will take this issue seriously.

Pew Center Contact: Tom Steinfeldt, 703-516-4146

 

Related Content

Science Friday's Ira Flatow talks with Eileen Claussen, who explains why President's Bush's new climate change proposal is a non-starter.  (April 18, 2008)

On NPR's Morning Edition, Eileen Claussen discusses President Bush's climate change goals and why they are a step backward. (April 17, 2008)

What is Cap and Trade?

A cap-and-trade system is one of a variety of policy tools to reduce the greenhouse gas emissions responsible for climate change. A cap-and-trade program sets a clear limit on greenhouse gas emissions and minimizes the costs of achieving this target. By creating a market, and a price, for emission reductions, cap and trade offers an environmentally effective and economically efficient response to climate change.

Ultimately, cap-and-trade programs offer opportunities for the most cost-effective emissions reductions. Many challenging issues must be addressed before initiating the program. Once established though, a well-designed cap-and-trade market is relatively easy to implement, can achieve emissions reductions goals in a cost-effective manner, and drives low-greenhouse gas innovation.

Resources accessible on this page help explain what cap and trade is and how it works to address the climate change challenge:

Hearings of the 111th Congress

Competitiveness and Engaging Developing Countries

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Response of the Pew Center on Global Climate Change to the House Energy and Commerce Committee's Climate Change Legislation Design White Paper: Competitiveness Concerns/Engaging Developing Countries

The Center commends the Committee for initiating this examination of options for addressing competitiveness and developing country engagement, in the context of domestic climate change legislation, and welcomes the opportunity to provide input on these critical issues. This submission offers a general perspective on these issues and responses to the questions posed by the Committee. 

Overview

The issues of competitiveness and developing country engagement are closely related, and some policy approaches that might be incorporated into domestic climate change legislation could, to some degree, address both concerns simultaneously.  However, it is important that these two issues be disentangled and that each be considered in its own right, both in order to understand their full characteristics and dynamics, and to identify policy options that may address one but not the other.  Further, it is important to consider whether a particular policy approach that appears to hold promise in addressing one concern may complicate or undermine efforts to address the other. 

Read the complete response (pdf)

Eileen Claussen Remarks at Pew Center State-Federal Workshop

Speech by Eileen Claussen, President, Pew Center on Global Climate Change
 
Pew Center State and Federal Workshop
WASHINGTON, DC

 
February 25, 2008


On behalf of the Pew Center on Global Climate Change and the Pew Center on the States, I’d like to welcome you to our conference: Innovative Approaches to Climate Change: A State-Federal Workshop.  I welcome the opportunity to be with all of you and kick-off this very timely conference that will examine the specific roles of Washington and the states in addressing the urgent challenge of global climate change. 

As most of you know, what is happening on this issue right now is this: In the absence of federal action, states have taken the lead in designing regulatory approaches to reduce the greenhouse gas emissions that cause climate change.   And while it is good that the states are acting - it does not mean the federal government is irrelevant. In fact, both Washington and the states have specific and important roles to play.  And I will spend a few minutes this morning discussing what these different yet complementary roles look like and mean. 

But first, let’s examine why states are acting.  I think there are three reasons:  risks, opportunities and authority.  States are very close to what is happening - they see the risks that climate change poses to their states – not just higher temperatures and heat waves, but more coastal flooding, more intense rainfall, higher levels of drought, increases in the number and intensity of wildfires, and more.  But many states also see opportunities in responding proactively to climate change, including developing new industries in alternative energy, applying information technology to buildings to improve energy efficiency, and improving the quality of life for their citizens through smarter growth. 

States also recognize that they have real authority to reduce emissions.  They are empowered to take action. States can promote clean electricity and energy efficiency with policy tools such as net metering, green pricing, and public benefit funds. States have authority to adopt building efficiency codes, which can have a major impact when you consider that energy use in buildings produces about 43 percent of U.S. carbon dioxide emissions. States also have great control over smart growth policies and transportation policies aimed at reducing emissions from cars and trucks.  These are examples of things that fall within a state’s authority and in many instances, outside the authority of the federal government. 

But what about the federal government?  Washington most assuredly has been absent from the effort to reduce U.S. emissions, as I have said.  But there are signs this will change, probably in the next couple of years.  And so, when the federal government finally chooses to act, is there a risk that it might come in and supercede all the good and thoughtful work of the states?

I think not.  I think the question of federal vs. state action on climate change is not a question of either/or.  My thesis is that the states can do some things (indeed they are better suited to do some things) and Washington can do other things that only Washington can do. And I think there is more than enough responsibility and hard work to go around.

For example, certain actions, if they are taken nationally, can be more cost-effective. And we also have to keep in mind that there is no guarantee that all states would act individually. In order to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases, and to do so both cost-effectively and to the levels scientists say are necessary, I do believe we need the federal government to step up to the plate at the same time that the states are doing their part.

One of the things that Washington can and should do is to create a national cap-and-trade program to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.  Cap-and-trade has been embraced by business and political leaders from both parties as the best and most cost-effective way to achieve real, specified reductions in emissions.  But cap-and-trade works best when it covers many emission sources. 

The more states, or the more countries, that are part of the system, the more you can achieve efficiencies of scale and the more you can lower the cost of reducing emissions.   This is why many states are reaching across their borders to establish regional cap-and-trade programs.  They understand that the economics of cap-and-trade get better when more states and more communities are involved.  But if regional approaches are better than going state-by-state, it is also true that a national approach is better than doing this on a region-by-region basis.

Ultimately, we need a national cap-and-trade program like the one making its way through the U.S. Senate. This plan aims to reduce emissions across the country and levels the playing field for businesses in all 50 states. It ensures that we’re able to take full advantage (as a nation) of the cheapest emission reductions we can find. 
 
Another thing that only the federal government can do is negotiate and enter into international agreements on climate change. At the federal level, the United States needs to commit to play an active part in crafting an effective global response to this problem.  We have not been playing a constructive role in this process – and that has to stop.

International negotiators, including the U.S., have agreed to a process aimed at producing a new global climate treaty by the end of 2009. This is an extremely ambitious goal, but one worth pursuing. Clearly, we need a global agreement as soon as possible that includes binding commitments from the world's largest economies.  And a global agreement that creates a worldwide market for emission reductions will help lower the global costs of achieving our emission reduction goals.    

Negotiating such an agreement is clearly a federal government responsibility … and it is a responsibility we will carry out more effectively if we commit as soon as possible to a national program of reducing emissions.  Right now, emerging economies and major sources of emissions like China and India are hiding behind U.S. inaction on this issue. U.S. leadership, in the form of mandatory emission limits at home coupled with a strong push for binding international commitments, would set the stage for effective global action – and, ultimately, real progress in reducing emissions around the world. 

Does this mean the states should step aside and cede the leadership role on the climate issue to Washington?  No. The states can and should keep exploring ways to leverage their unique authorities in areas from energy regulation to building codes, smart-growth planning and more.  States are doing important and valuable work in all of these areas, and that must continue at the same time that the federal government begins to fulfill its role in the partnership.

In closing, I want to remind you of the vision of Justice Louis Brandeis.  He saw the U.S. states as “laboratories of democracy” where policy innovations could take hold and perhaps provide models for other states, and for our national government as well.

And I honestly believe we would not be where we are today in the climate debate – on the verge of adopting a national cap-and-trade program – if many of the states had not acted first to adopt their own targets and to pursue cross-border emission trading regimes.  

The U.S. states are acting in the best traditions of federalism by advancing an array of solutions to climate change that address their specific concerns and that take advantage of their unique responsibilities in our federalist system of government.  Today, the challenge is to create a more balanced state and federal partnership – a partnership that promises to bring much-needed certainty to the question of how we as a nation are going to address the most critical environmental issue of our time.

Innovative Approaches to Climate Change: A State and Federal Workshop

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The Pew Center on Global Climate Change, in collaboration with the Pew Center on the States, hosted a two-day workshop focused on state and federal action in response to climate change.

On February 25 and 26, 2008, the Pew Center on Global Climate Change, in collaboration with the Pew Center on the States, hosted a workshop focused on state and federal action in response to climate change. The event brought together legislative staff and officials from both the state and federal levels to share their experience developing climate policies, and to discuss the appropriate roles of each level of government in implementing future national policy. Participants explored how federal policy might be informed by, and interact with, existing state efforts.

Two new publications were released at the workshop as part of the Pew Center on Global Climate Change Climate Change 101 Series:

NEW: Climate Change 101: Adaptation (Updated - January 2009)
NEW: Climate Change 101: Cap-and-Trade (Updated - January 2009)


In addition, a new publication in the Pew Center's Coal Initiative Series was also released:

NEW: State Options for Low-Carbon Coal Policy

Based in part on the results of this workshop, the Pew Center released a new report in June 2008:

NEW: Toward a Constructive Dialogue on Federal and State Roles in U.S. Climate Change Policy

 

Innovative Approaches to Climate Change: A State and Federal Workshop
Eileen Claussen & Gov. Bill Richardson


Speaker and panelist presentations can be viewed by clicking on the presenter's name below.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Opening Address:

Insights from National Association of Clean Air Agencies Dialogue:

  • Doug Scott, Director, Illinois Environmental Protection Agency

Panel 1: Cap-and-Trade Design, Session 1

Moderator: Vicki Arroyo, Director of Policy Analysis, Pew Center on Global Climate Change

Panelists:

  • Janice Adair, Special Assistant to the Director, Washington State Department of Ecology
  • Lisa Jackson, Commissioner, New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection
  • David McIntosh, Legislative Assistant, Office of Senator Joseph Lieberman (I-CT)
  • Damien Meadows, Deputy Head of Unit, DG Environment, European Commission

Panel 2: Cap-and-Trade Design, Session 2

Watch this panel discussion on
E&ETV

Moderator: Janet Peace, Senior Economist, Pew Center on Global Climate Change

Panelists:

  • Michael Gibbs, Assistant Secretary for Climate Change, California Environmental Protection Agency
  • Christopher Sherry, Research Scientist, New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection
  • Damien Meadows, Deputy Head of Unit, DG Environment, European Commission
  • Edith Thompson, Legislative Assistant, Office of Congressman Wayne Gilchrest (R-MD)

Lunch Keynote Speaker:

Panel 3: Transportation - Low-Carbon Fuels and Vehicles

Moderator: Tom Peterson, President and CEO, Center for Climate Strategies

Panelists:

  • George Crombie, Secretary, Vermont Agency of Natural Resources
  • Chris Miller, Senior Policy Advisor, Office of Senator Harry Reid (D-NV)
  • David Crane, Special Advisor for Jobs and Economic Growth, Office of California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger
  • Roya Stanley, Director, Iowa Office of Energy Independence

Panel 4: Electricity

Moderator: Steve Brick, Program Manager, The Joyce Foundation

Panelists:

  • Leon Lowery, Majority Staff, Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee
  • Richard Opper, Director, Montana Department of Environmental Quality
  • Jeanne Fox, President, New Jersey Board of Public Utilities
  • Richard Cowart, Director, Regulatory Assistance Project

Dinner Keynote Speaker:

  • Erik Olson, Deputy Staff Director & General Counsel, Majority Staff, Senate Committee on Environment & Public Works

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Breakfast Keynote Speaker:

  • Governor Tim Pawlenty, Minnesota

Panel 5: Smart Growth and Vehicle Miles Traveled

Moderator: Doug Foy, Policy Advisor, Pew Center on the States

Panelists:

Keynote Speaker:

  • Senator John F. Kerry, Massachusetts

Panel 6: Adaptation

Moderator: Joel Smith, Vice President, Stratus Consulting Inc.

Panelists:

  • Larry Hartig, Commissioner, Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation
  • Stephen Adams, Staff Director, Governor's Action Team on Energy and Climate Change, Florida
  • Robert Twilley, Professor, Department of Oceanography and Coastal Sciences, Louisiana State University
  • David Van't Hof, Sustainability Advisor, Office of Oregon Governor Ted Kulongoski

Panel 7: Respective State and Federal Roles in Climate Policy

Moderator: Judi Greenwald, Director of Innovative Solutions, Pew Center on Global Climate Change

Panelists:

  • Sarah Cottrell, Energy and Environmental Policy Advisor, Office of New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson
  • George Givens, Principal Legislative Analyst/Attorney, North Carolina General Assembly
  • Franz Litz, Senior Fellow, World Resources Institute
  • Brad Moore, Commissioner, Minnesota Pollution Control Agency

About U.S. Federal

The Center for Climate and Energy Solutions (C2ES) seeks to inform the design and implementation of federal policies that will significantly reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, and promote clean energy. Drawing from its extensive peer-reviewed published works, in-house analyses on the design of climate change policies and clean energy policies, and tracking of current legislative proposals, the Center provides research, analysis, and recommendations to policymakers in both Congress and the Executive Branch.

The Center regularly meets with members of the federal Administration, U.S. Senate, and House of Representatives and their staff to discuss climate science, impacts, economics, policy, regulation, and legislation. C2ES also holds widely-attended Capitol Hill briefings on these topics, often bringing in experts from academia, business, and government to provide a broad range of perspectives.

Federal

The Center for Climate and Energy Solutions seeks to inform the design and implementation of federal policies that will significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Drawing from its extensive peer-reviewed published works, in-house policy analyses, and tracking of regulations and legislative proposals, the Center provides research, analysis, and recommendations to policymakers in Congress and the Executive Branch. Read More

Table Summary of Cap-and-Trade Proposed Legislation (01-2008)

Bill

Scope of Coverage

2010-2019 Cap

2020-2029 Cap

2030-2050 Cap

Allocation

Offsets and Other Cost Controls

Early Action

Technology and Misc.

Lieberman-Warner
S. 2191 – 10/18/2007
Lieberman-Warner Climate Security Act of 2008
Version passed 11-8 by the Senate Environment & Public Works Committee on December 5, 2007

All 6 GHGs
Economy-wide, “hybrid” – upstream for transport fuels & natural gas; downstream for large coal users; separate cap for HFC consumption

2005 level in 2012

15% below 2005 level in 2020

 

 

70% below 2005 level in 2050

Increasing auction: 26.5% in 2012 (includes 5% early auction), rising to 69.5% from 2031- 2050
Some sector allocations are specified including: 19% to power plants and 10% to manufacturers (transitions to zero in 2031), 11% to states, 9% to load serving entities (LSEs), and others
5% set-aside for domestic agriculture and forestry

15% limit on use of domestic offsets
15% limit on use of international emission allowances
Borrowing up to 15% per company
Creates Carbon Market Efficiency Board to monitor the trading market and implement specific cost relief measures, including increased borrowing and use of offsets

5% of allowances for early action in 2012, phasing to zero in 2017

Bonus allocations for carbon capture and storage
Funds and incentives for technology, adaptation, & mitigating effects on poor
Cap-and-trade system performance and targets subject to 3-year NAS review

Bingaman-Specter
S. 1766 – 7/11/2007
Low Carbon Economy Act

All 6 GHGs
Economy-wide, “hybrid” – upstream for natural gas & petroleum; downstream for coal

2012 level in 2012

2006 level in 2020

1990 level in 2030
President may set long-term target =60% below 2006 level by 2050 contingent upon international effort

Increasing auction: 24% from 2012-2017, rising to 53% in 2030
Some sector allocations are specified including: 9% to states, 53% to industry declining 2%/year starting in 2017
5% set-aside of allowances for agricultural

Provides certain initial categories including bio sequestration and industrial offsets
President may implement use of international offsets subject to 10% limit
$12/ton CO2e “technology accelerator payment” (i.e., safety valve) starting in 2012 and increasing 5%/year above inflation
Allows banking

From 2012-2020, 1% of allowances allocated to those registering GHG reductions prior to enactment

Bonus allocation for carbon capture and storage
Funds and incentives for technology R&D
Target subject to 5-year review of new science and actions by other nations

McCain-Lieberman
S.280 – 1/12/2007
Climate Stewardship and Innovation Act

All 6 GHGs
Economy-wide, “hybrid” – upstream for transportation sector; downstream for electric utilities & large sources

2004 level in 2012

1990 level in 2020

20% below 1990 level in 2030
60% below 1990 level in 2050

Administrator determines allocation/auction split; considering consumer impact, competitiveness, etc.

30% limit on use of international credits and domestic reduction or sequestration offsets  
Borrowing for 5-year periods with interest

Credit for reductions before 2012
Early actors may use offsets to meet 40% of reductions

Funds and incentives for tech R&D, efficiency adaptation, mitigating effects on poor

Sanders-Boxer
S.309 – 1/16/2007
Global Warming Pollution Reduction Act

All 6 GHGs
Economy-wide, point of regulation not specified

2010 level in 2010
2%/year reduction from 2010-2020

1990 level in 2020

27% below 1990 level in 2030
53% below 1990 level in 2040
80% below 1990 level in 2050

Cap and trade permitted but not required. Allocation criteria include transition assistance and consumer impacts

Includes provision for offsets generated from biological sequestration
“Technology-indexed stop price” freezes cap if prices high relative to tech options

Program may recognize early reductions made under state or local laws

Standards for vehicles, power plants, efficiency, renewables, certain categories of bio sequestration

Kerry-Snowe
S.485 –  2/1/2007
Global Warming Reduction Act

All 6 GHGs
Economy-wide, point of regulation not specified

2010 level in 2010

1990 level in 2020
2.5%/year reduction from 2020-2029

3.5% year reduction from 2030-2050
62% below 1990 level in 2050

Determined by the President; requires unspecified amount of allowances to be auctioned

Includes provision for offsets generated from biological sequestration  

Goal to “recognize and reward early reductions”

Funds for tech. R&D, consumer impacts, adaptation
Standards for vehicles, efficiency, & renewables

Olver-Gilchrest
H.R. 620 – 1/22/2007
Climate Stewardship Act

All 6 GHGs
Economy-wide, “hybrid” – upstream for transportation sector; downstream for electric utilities & large sources

2004 level in 2012

1990 level in 2020

22% below 1990 level in 2030
70% below 1990 level in 2050

Administrator determines allocation/auction split; considering consumer impact, competitiveness, etc.

15% limit on use of international credits and domestic reduction or sequestration offsets
Borrowing for 5-year periods with interest

Credit for reductions before 2012
Early actors may use offsets to meet 35% of reductions

Funds and incentives for tech R&D, efficiency adaptation, mitigating effects on poor

Waxman
H.R.1590 – 3/20/2007
Safe Climate Act of 2007

All 6 GHGs
Economy-wide, point of regulation not specified

2009 level in 2010
2%/year reduction from 2011-2020

1990 levels in 2020
5%/year reduction from 2020-2029

5% year reduction from 2030-2050
80% below 1990 levels in 2050

Determined by the President; requires unspecified amount of  allowances to be auctioned

Not specified

Goal to “recognize and reward early reductions”

Standards for vehicles, efficiency, renewables

Statement: 2008 State of the Union Response

PEW CENTER STATEMENT: 2008 STATE OF THE UNION ADDRESS

Statement of Eileen Claussen
President, Pew Center on Global Climate Change


January 28, 2008

President Bush’s proposal tonight to invest $2 billion to deploy clean energy technologies in developing countries is a step in the right direction. A fair and effective global response to climate change is possible only with strong support from industrialized countries. But compared to the level of investment needed, and the $10 billion pledged two days ago by Japan, the president’s proposal appears modest at best.

The White House must go much further if it wants to be seen as a leader on climate action. At home, the president should work with Congress to enact a mandatory cap-and-trade bill to significantly reduce U.S. emissions. Abroad, the United States must sit down with other countries and negotiate binding international commitments. The so-called national commitments the administration is advocating would be little more than promises, providing no assurance that China, India, and other countries would hold up their end of the bargain.

American business and the American public are calling for mandatory federal action on climate change. At the major economies meeting later this week, other governments will be asking how the White House plans to deliver on its promises. President Bush should seize these opportunities to demonstrate that he is indeed prepared to meet the challenge of climate change.

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