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
With negotiators about to start international climate talks, you might have missed a notable climate effort at the state level: A new report from Maryland’s Department of the Environment shows the state is on track to beat its goal of reducing its emissions 25 percent below 2006 levels by the year 2020.
Since that goal was set in 2009, Maryland has implemented a range of programs to reduce emissions from the energy sector, transportation, agriculture and buildings. The state also benefitted from changes in energy markets as power generators moved from coal to natural gas, and changes in driving behavior, with Marylanders driving fewer miles than forecast.
Additionally, Maryland participates in the nine-state Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI), a cap-and-trade program that has generated revenues the state has used to help thousands of low- and moderate-income families and hundreds of farms improve efficiency and save money on their energy bills.
Maryland isn’t the only state that has set ambitious targets to curb greenhouse gases. According to our research, 18 other states have set targets over the past 15 years. Eight states, Maryland among them, stand out as leaders for setting targets by legislative action or executive order, requiring progress reports and updates of original climate plans, and aggressively pursuing initiatives to achieve the targets.
Why are states acting?
Already, Maryland and other states are experiencing the types of impacts -- excessive heat, droughts, heavy downpours -- expected to become more frequent and intense as a result of climate change. No one individual weather event can be attributed directly to climate change; climate is a pattern of events over time. However, it is clear that the costs to property, crops, and public health from impacts consistent with climate change are already significant.
A series of C2ES briefs explores key climate impacts and estimates how they might affect Maryland’s heat-related mortality, coastal property, labor productivity, energy expenditures, and agricultural output as well as its infrastructure, tourism, ecosystems, water resources and human health beyond heat-related mortality.
Climate scientists tell us that even deeper emissions reductions are necessary in the coming decades to avoid more serious and costly impacts. Recently, the Maryland Climate Change Commission, a government advisory board, unanimously recommended that the state set a new goal to cut its emissions 40 percent by 2030. The recommendation, supported by additional C2ES analysis, is likely to be taken up in the General Assembly next year.
Maryland cannot tackle climate change alone. But by working to reduce emissions today, setting strong reduction targets for the future, and growing a clean energy economy, Maryland is creating a powerful example other states will want to follow.
Maryland's Post-2020 Greenhouse Gas Reduction Target Setting
by Doug Vine
Maryland’s target to reduce greenhouse gas emissions 25 percent from 2006 levels by 2020 is ambitious and has put it in the company of leading states. As 2020 nears, it
is becoming increasingly clear that Maryland will likely achieve this goal. However, the challenges associated with climate change extend well beyond 2020, and with the target date fast approaching, the question arises of what the state’s post-2020 goals should be.
A Summary of American Climate Prospectus: Impacts for Maryland
By Joe Casola and Timothy Markle
In this paper, we summarize the information about the costs of climate impacts in the American Climate Prospectus that are specific to the state of Maryland. The impacts examined include: increases in heatrelated mortality, increases in the amount of coastal property exposed to flooding, declines in labor productivity, increases in energy expenditures, and declines in agricultural output.
Climate Change: The Cost of Inaction for Maryland's Economy
By Timothy Markle
The American Climate Prospectus addressed several key climate impacts over the coming century, including increases in heat-related mortality, increases in the amount of coastal property exposed to flooding, declines in labor productivity, increases in energy expenditures, and declines in agricultural output. In this paper, we explore impacts not explicitly presented by the American Climate Prospectus, which include estimates of how climate change might affect infrastructure, tourism, ecosystems, agriculture, water resources, or aspects of human health beyond heat-related mortality (e.g., respiratory ailments associated with lower air quality, and changes in the range of disease vectors). Additionally, we provide an update to the costs of inaction previously listed in Chapter 4 and Appendix F of the 2011 Maryland Plan to Reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions (Appendix A; Table 1).
Key Insights on Business State and City Collaboration for Climate Resilience
C2ES held a Solutions Forum workshop focusing on opportunities for collaboration on climate resilience in November 2015 in Detroit, Michigan. More than 40 business leaders, state and city officials, non-profit organizations, and other experts shared their experiences addressing climate change impacts and enhancing resilience. Discussion focused on the role each stakeholder group can play in planning for climate change. This paper summarizes the key insights of the meeting and areas of focus moving forward.
The Clean Power Plan and
Over the next year, states will be working with stakeholders to submit plans to implement the new federal Clean Power Plan and submit comments on the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) proposed federal implementation plan and model rules. In its final Clean Power Plan, EPA has shown strong support for market-based approaches to reduce emissions and has granted states significant flexibility to implement market options. This document provides an overview of the Clean Power Plan and highlights aspects of the rule that warrant close attention from a market readiness perspective.
Cities and counties are increasingly emerging as climate leaders, becoming laboratories and incubators for climate solutions. These solutions take a fresh approach to emerging local challenges, and could drive progress at a larger scale.
Here are two key ways cities are stepping up:
· Local governments are creating an invaluable knowledge base for efficiency and sustainability efforts.
To reach your destination, you have to know where you are starting from. That’s why it’s so important that cities are taking advantage of ever-improving data collection and analytical capabilities to become the providers of rich databases of energy and water use in their jurisdictions.
Philadelphia's Energy Benchmarking program requires large commercial buildings to disclose their energy use. As a result, the city has a baseline of energy usage by nearly 2,000 buildings across multiple sectors. By sharing this data with building owners and energy managers, the city is focusing more attention on saving energy. And by sharing building data online with potential tenants, the city hopes to create a market for efficient buildings.
A similar program in New York City has had promising results. The disclosure policy corresponded with energy savings of nearly 6 percent - worth more than $260 million.
· Local governments are leveraging technology to save energy and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
A partnership between the City of Charlotte and Envision Charlotte, a local nonprofit, was among the examples of this strategy featured at the recent Smart Cities week in Washington, D.C. Working with the city and Duke Energy, Envision Charlotte has installed shadow meters in uptown commercial buildings to gather real-time energy use data that informs customized training for building managers. Recent assessments document a 16 percent drop in energy use over a 2010 baseline.
Envision Charlotte plans to reach more buildings in the city and is developing an app to engage office tenants. It’s also partnering with the White House to launch the newly unveiled Envision America program, which aims to achieve similar energy savings in other cities.
In both of these cases, access to strong data is helping to identify candidates for educational programs and investment opportunities to improve building performance. Local leaders know that these activities can strengthen their communities and local economies, and cities have a growing track record of facilitating such projects and ensuring they are implemented and monitored successfully.
As programs like these show, cities can be valuable partners as states and companies seek to improve sustainability and save energy. They can also play a key role as states seek emissions-cutting strategies under the Clean Power Plan.
That’s why local governments are playing a key role in the new C2ES Solutions Forum initiative. By sharing their experiences with states and businesses, cities and counties will help inform decisions and promote climate solutions that work.
The federal Clean Power Plan gives each state the flexibility to use its own ideas on how best to reduce greenhouse gases from the power sector. One proven, cost-effective approach is to use market forces to drive innovation and efficiency.
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. Modest programs that allow companies to trade carbon credits could be explored.
In an op-ed published in The Hill, Anthony Earley, CEO of California energy company PG&E, and C2ES President Bob Perciasepe urge states to give these options serious thought.
Read The Hill op-ed.
The wildfires ravaging the Western United States are among the most damaging on record, and the season isn’t over yet. For those who have been following the region’s changing climate patterns, however, the damage is hardly surprising, and this could be only the beginning.
So far this year, 41,000 fires have burned 7.5 million acres of forests and grasslands across the United States. Only nine years have seen more acres burned in total than have already burned this year. The record is 9.8 million acres in 2006.
In Alaska, the 2015 wildfire season will likely go down as the second-biggest on record. More than 5.1 million acres – or 8,000 square miles – have burned so far this year. The most damaging – 6.6 million acres – occurred in 2004. Although this was an extreme fire season, the state was fortunate that the weather eventually cooperated. By mid-July, the fires had already charred 4.5 million acres, or 88 percent of the total.
The fires that plagued central Alaska during the late spring and early summer months are now mostly under control, as the dry summer heat gives way to cooler and wetter weather. The persistent ridge of high pressure has broken down as waves of moisture now stream in from the surrounding waters – the annual sign that autumn is quickly approaching.
As the fires die out in Alaska, the attention now turns to the lower 48. What was a sporadic, yet manageable, start to the fire season has now turned into conflagration of tragic proportions.
Cities and states are deploying a wide variety of incentives to promote more adoption of electric vehicles to reduce emissions and improve our energy security.
Consumers in Houston can get a state subsidy for buying a new EV. In the Phoenix area, EV buyers get registration fees waived and single-occupant HOV lane access. EV drivers in Portland receive fewer city and state incentives, but benefit from more publicly available charging infrastructure.
EV incentives vary by the amount consumers can save, how the incentives are applied, and who is offering the incentive.
A new report sheds light on how the 25 largest U.S. cities stack up in promoting EV deployment. These cities together represent more than half of the public electric vehicle charging infrastructure in the U.S. and about two-thirds of new electric vehicle registrations.
The white paper published by the International Council on Clean Transportation with input from C2ES and C40 and support from the 11th Hour Project, catalogues data on policies and actions by state agencies, municipal agencies, and local utilities that promote EV sales and analyzes the benefits to consumers.