U.S. States & Regions
States and regions across the country are adopting climate policies, including the development of regional greenhouse gas reduction markets, the creation of state and local climate action and adaptation plans, and increasing renewable energy generation. Read More
Driving Energy Efficiency with IT: A Solutions Forum
Energy efficiency could be the least-cost way for a state to meet its carbon reduction goals under the proposed Clean Power Plan. C2ES has reported that widely deploying information and communications technologies could save billions in energy costs. Join business, state and city leaders exploring options for increasing energy efficiency with information and communications technology.
Monday, May 18
9 a.m. – Noon
101 Constitution Ave., NW, Washington, DC, 20001
Speakers will include:
Chairman, President and CEO, PSEG
Global Director, Environment and Energy Policy, Intel Corporation
Director of Sustainability, City of Philadelphia
|C2ES President Bob Perciasepe moderates a Solutions Forum panel with (l to r): Martha Rudolph, Director of Environmental Programs, Colorado Department of Public Health & Environment; David Paylor, Director, Virginia Department of Environmental Quality; and Janet Coit, Director, Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management.|
States will have tremendous flexibility to choose how to reduce their carbon emissions under the Clean Power Plan, and one idea they should explore is putting a price on carbon.
The Center for Climate and Energy Solutions (C2ES) recently brought together legal and economic experts, state environmental directors, and business leaders to explore the potential to use market mechanisms to reduce these damaging emissions efficiently and cost-effectively.
Here are three key insights from this Solutions Forum:
- Market-based policies are the most cost-effective way to reduce emissions.
Economists have plenty of evidence that market-based policies can achieve environmental objectives at lower overall costs. The U.S. acid rain cap-and-trade program reduced sulfur dioxide emissions from power plants about twice as fast and at a fraction of the cost of traditional regulation. Setting a price on carbon sends a clear market signal to businesses so they can make the best investment and technology decisions and seize new opportunities. Ten U.S. states are already using carbon trading programs to reduce emissions while minimizing costs. There’s also the idea of a revenue-neutral carbon tax where we’d tax something we don’t want – carbon pollution – while reducing taxes on things we do want, like productivity and employment.
- States and businesses are willing to explore the idea of being “market-ready.”
The options available to states go beyond creating or joining a cap-and-trade program or instituting a carbon tax. Pieces can be put in place, such as common definitions, measurement and verification processes, so that states or companies could be in a position to trade within their state or across borders. Martha Rudolph, director of environmental programs for the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, said modest programs that allow companies to trade carbon credits should be explored. Skiles Boyd, DTE Energy vice president of environmental management and resources, urged states to look beyond efforts to block the Clean Power Plan and instead seek the best solutions to implement it. “‘Just saying no’ gives you tremendous uncertainty,’’ Boyd said. “Let’s try to develop a rule base that can be the best for our customers.”
- State and business leaders recognize the need to talk to one another about the best ways to reduce emissions.
To achieve the goal of reducing emissions in the smartest way, states and businesses will need to work together. David Paylor, director of Virginia's Department of Environmental Quality, said his state has a preference for market-based tools. “Solutions are going to be facilitated when the business community can get behind certain ideas and say, ‘This is the thing that makes the most economic sense to us,”’ Paylor said. And Katie Ott, senior manager of federal government affairs at Exelon, said businesses recognize their responsibility to bring forward reasonable, low-cost ideas. “Markets have successfully internalized the cost of pollution before,” Ott said, “and there’s no reason why they can’t do it again, this time for greenhouse gases.”
All agreed that greater flexibility in the planning process would help states make progress in implementing market-based policies.
C2ES will continue the conversation with states and businesses on smart ways to implement the Clean Power Plan at two more events this spring. A Solutions Forum on May 18 will explore reducing emissions by using information technologies to improve energy efficiency. A June 25 Solutions Forum will examine how to finance clean energy technology and infrastructure.
By sharing insights and ideas, we’ll reach innovative, cost-effective solutions that will help us get to a clean energy future.
Market Mechanisms: Understanding the OptionsApril 2015
Climate change poses a significant risk for a broad range of human and natural systems. Policies to reduce emissions are critical if we are to avoid the most costly damages associated with a rapidly changing climate. Compared to traditional command-and-control regulations, market-based policies can more cost-effectively reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by creating financial incentives for GHG emitters to emit less. Ten U.S. states and many jurisdictions outside the United States have established market-based programs to reduce GHGs. Market-based policies would be among the options available to states to reduce GHGs from power plants under the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s proposed Clean Power Plan. This brief describes the theory behind market-based approaches; their success in cost-effectively reducing GHGs and other emissions; and a range of market-based options, including: a carbon tax, a cap-and-trade program, a baseline and credit program, a clean or renewable electricity standard, and an energy efficiency resource standard.
States have an array of policy options to reduce carbon emissions from power plants. In the first of a three-part clean power series, C2ES brings together state leaders and industry experts to explore market-based approaches to efficiently and effectively implementing EPA's proposed Clean Power Plan.
April 15, 2015
9:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.
(Doors open at 8:30 a.m.)
Capitol View Conference Center
101 Constitution Ave. NW
Washington, DC 20001
Video of the introduction and Panel 1
Video of Panel 2
Director, Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management
Director, Virginia Department of Environmental Quality
Director of Environmental Programs, Colorado Department of Public Health & Environment
Vice President, Environmental Management and Resources, DTE Energy
Government Affairs and Corporate Social Responsibility, Holcim (US) Inc.
Director of Energy and Environmental Policy, Duke Energy
Senior Manager, Federal Government Affairs, Exelon
Senior Fellow, Brookings Institution
Professor, Stanford Law School
President, Center for Climate and Energy Solutions
Progress on a multifaceted global challenge like climate change doesn’t happen in one flash of bright light. This can lead to the impression that little is being accomplished, especially when stories highlight areas of disagreement.
Nothing can be further from the truth. In reality, progress is more like the brightening sky before dawn. We saw positive steps in 2014, and they’ll help lay the groundwork for significant climate action in 2015 in the United States and around the world.
In the U.S., we will see the EPA Clean Power Plan finalized and states taking up the challenge to develop innovative policies to reduce harmful carbon dioxide emissions from power plants. Allowing governors to do what they do best, innovating at the state level, will be a key achievement of 2015.
Internationally, more countries than ever before will be putting forward new targets for reducing greenhouse gas emissions ahead of talks in December in Paris to hammer out a climate pact to replace the Kyoto Protocol.
In the New Year, we will be building on solid progress made in 2014 by governments, businesses, and individuals. Here are 10 examples:
Kyle Aarons speaks at a one-day program in San Francisco intended to provide participants with an in-depth examination of how the California carbon markets are developing and how potential long-term goals and federal regulation are impacting the market.
Date: Thursday, June 26
Time: 8 a.m. - 5 p.m., PDT
Location: Marriott Union Square in San Francisco, CA
Judging from the climate policy debate in Washington, one might conclude that carbon pricing is only a concept, or something being tried in Europe.
But in fact, 10 U.S. states (California and the Northeast states in the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative) have carbon trading programs. That means more than a quarter of the U.S. population lives in a state with a price on carbon. And a growing number of nations and provinces around the globe are turning to carbon pricing to cost-effectively reduce greenhouse gas emissions and encourage energy innovation.
E&E TV, April 10, 2014
As President Barack Obama prepares to deliver his State of the Union address, we believe it’s a good time to take a look at the state of our climate: the growing impacts of climate change, recent progress in reducing U.S. emissions, and further steps we can take to protect the climate and ourselves.
The consequences of rising emissions are serious. The U.S. average temperature has increased by about 1.5°F since 1895 with 80 percent of this increase occurring since 1980, according to the draft National Climate Assessment. Greenhouse gases could raise temperatures 2° to 4°F in most areas of the United States over the next few decades, bringing significant changes to local climates and ecosystems.