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
Washington State Sets Statewide GHG Emissions Targets, Performance Standard for Electricity
On May 3, 2007, Governor Christine Gregoire of Washington signed SB 6001, setting into law statewide greenhouse gas emissions reductions goals and strategies originally announced in a February 2007 executive order. The new law commits Washington to reduce statewide emissions to 1990 levels by 2020, 25 percent below 1990 levels by 2035, and 50 percent below 1990 levels by 2050, as well as to the creation of thousands of new jobs in the clean energy sector by 2020. The bill directs the Governor’s office to develop policy recommendations for how the state can achieve these goals, including, among others, the possible implementation of market mechanisms such as a cap and trade system, carbon sequestration projects, replacing high-emitting electricity generation with newer technologies, and the improvement of regulatory and tax policies. The recommendations must be submitted to the legislature for consideration in 2008. SB 6001 also establishes a GHG performance standard for all new, long-term baseload electric power generation. Under the standard, all baseload generation for which utilities enter into long-term contracts must meet a greehouse gas emissions standard of 1,100 pounds per megawatt-hour beginning in July 2008.
On April 27, 2007, Iowa Governor Chet Culver signed SF 485, establishing a Climate Change Advisory Council that will be composed of a range of Governor-appointed stakeholders, as well as members of the legislature. The council is charged with developing a range of scenarios for reductions of statewide greenhouse gas emissions, including the possibility of cutting emissions 50 percent by 2050, and recommending the best strategies for statewide emissions reductions. The council will submit its recommendations to the governor and the general assembly by January 1, 2008. SF 485 also creates a voluntary greenhouse gas registry to aid with the tracking and crediting of entities in the state that reduce their GHG emissions or that implement energy efficiency measures. The bill also requires the state to consider GHG emissions in reviewing proposals for new power plants.
Maryland Adopts California Vehicle GHG Emissions Standards, Creates Green Building Council, Adopts New Solar Energy Standard
On April 24, 2007, Governor Martin O’Malley signed SB 103, the Maryland Clean Cars Act, officially pledging Maryland to adopt California’s greenhouse gas emissions standards for vehicles. California’s standards are set to begin in the 2009 model year for cars and trucks and mandate a 22 percent reduction of tailpipe greenhouse gas emissions by the 2012 model year and a 30 percent reduction by the 2016 model year. Maryland will adopt similar standards for all vehicles sold and registered in the state beginning in 2011. The Act also establishes a Clean Car and Energy Policy Task Force to study vehicle emissions policies in other states, emerging technologies, and recommend strategies for alternative fuels and efficiency measures to improve state air quality.
On the same day Governor O’Malley signed two additional pieces of legislation to promote building efficiency and solar energy use. The first bill, SB 332 creates the Maryland Green Building Council, which will advise the governor and state legislators on how to use green building principles in state construction projects. The second, SB 595, expands Maryland’s existing renewable portfolio standard to require that 2% of the state’s electricity supply come from solar sources by 2022, in addition to 7.5% from other renewable sources by the same date. The bill also increases the maximum size of customer-owned, grid-connected power systems for net metering from 200 kilowatts to 2 megawatts and requires utilities to provide net metering for up to 1,500 megawatts overall for customer-owned generation systems. Net metering enables the sale of excess electricity back to the power grid.
On April 24, 2007, Premier Gordon Campbell announced that British Columbia will become the first jurisdiction outside of the United States to join the Western Regional Climate Action Initiative, a joint effort to reduce regional greenhouse gas emissions and address climate change established in February 2007 by the governors of Arizona, California, New Mexico, Oregon, and Washington. Under the agreement, the five states and B.C. will jointly set a regional emissions target by August 2007, and by August 2008 will establish a market-based system – such as a cap-and-trade program covering multiple economic sectors – to aid in meeting the target. The participants will also set up an emissions registry and tracking system. The initiative builds on work already undertaken individually by the participating states and B.C., each of which has already set its own emissions reductions goals.
Western Regional Climate Action Initiative Press Release
Map of Regional Initiatives
Map of States with Greenhouse Gas Emissions Targets
On April 20, 2007, Governor Martin O’Malley of Maryland signed the Memorandum of Understanding for the Northeast Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI), officially joining his state to the first multi-state greenhouse gas emissions cap-and-trade program in the U.S. Other participants include Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New Hampshire, New York, Rhode Island, and Vermont. As members of RGGI, states agree to a regional cap-and-trade program covering power plant carbon dioxide emissions. RGGI aims to cap these emissions at approximately current levels between 2009 and 2015, and then reduce this level 10% by 2019.
On the same day, Governor O’Malley signed an executive order establishing a Maryland Climate Change Commission that will create a state action plan to address climate change. The Commission will assess the possible impacts of climate change; calculate Maryland’s contribution to the climate change problem; work together with various state agencies, energy providers, business leaders, and other groups to develop a greenhouse gas reduction strategy; and develop a plan for reducing the state’s vulnerability to sea level rise and other effects of climate change.
More Information on RGGI
Map of Regional Initiatives
Map of States with Climate Change Commissions
On April 20, 2007, Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty announced the Minnesota Climate Change Advisory Group (MCCAG), a 51-member group composed of representatives from business, utility, environmental, academic, and religious organizations. Private citizens, farmers, local government, and tribal leaders are also represented. The MCCAG is charged with developing a comprehensive set of state-level policy recommendations for reducing or sequestering greenhouse gas emissions. The Advisory Group will also identify opportunities to promote energy-efficient technologies and clean, renewable energy resources that will enhance economic growth. The formation of MCCAG was a key component of the state’s Next Generation Energy Initiative, signed on December 12, 2006, which calls for more renewable energy, more energy conservation and lower carbon emissions. The Advisory Group’s final report is due to the Governor and legislature by February 1, 2008.
The following are examples of both enacted and introduced climate change legislation from around the country.
Economy-Wide Greenhouse Gas Reductions
This type of legislation establishes an economy-wide emissions target for the entire state.
Executive or legislative commissions examine the possible consequences of climate change for a state and the costs and benefits associated with addressing them, and develop recommendations for appropriate policies.
Often building on the work of their commissions, states design climate action plans tailored to their specific circumstances, seeking the most effective way to address climate change.
Several states have begun implementing either mandatory or voluntary reporting of greenhouse gas emissions from major sources. The Climate Registry is a non-profit organization that aims to measure and publicly report greenhouse gas emissions in a common, accurate, and transparent manner consistent across industry sectors and borders.
- Wisconsin Legislation
Greenhouse Gas Performance Standards for Electric Power
These requirements ensure that all electricity used in a state is produced with certain greenhouse gas emissions standards.
By law states have the option of either following federal emissions standards for cars and light trucks or following California's standards. Other states that have already adopted or are in the process of adopting the California standard include Arizona, Connecticut, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, and Washington.
- California AB 1493 (pdf)
Emissions Reductions in the Transportation Sector
In many states, transportation is a major contributor to greenhouse gas emissions. Some states have enacted laws that aim to reduce vehicle miles traveled (VMT) in the future.
Source: National Caucus of Environmental Legislators. For more information, visit the National Caucus of Environmental Legislators website.
On April 5, 2007, Governor Jim Doyle of Wisconsin signed two new executive orders as part of the state’s efforts to address climate change and energy issues. The first executive order creates the Task Force on Global Warming, which will investigate the potential economic and environmental impacts of climate change on Wisconsin and recommend possible solutions and strategies for greenhouse gas emissions reductions in the state. It will also work with other government agencies to derive an estimate of current statewide emissions. The Task Force will include members from business, industry, government, energy, and environmental organizations. In a second executive order, Governor Doyle created a new Office of Energy Independence which will coordinate efforts to bolster the state’s bioindustry, energy efficiency, and energy independence initiatives. In collaboration with Wisconsin’s Public Service Commission, the office will work with utilities to build a clean coal electric generation facility in the state.
On April 4, 2007, Governor Joe Manchin III of West Virginia signed legislation establishing a new net greenhouse gas inventory for the state that covers emissions, reductions, and sequestration of six greenhouse gases, including carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, hydroflurocarbons, perfluorocarbons and sulfur hexafluoride. The inventory covers all major stationary, area and mobile sources, such as power plants, waste combustors, natural gas/oil systems, landfills, and waste water treatment facilities, highway and non-road sources, and agricultural sources and shall account for geologic and terrestrial carbon sequestration. The legislation also creates a registry for the reporting of voluntary reductions of greenhouse gas emissions if the reductions are made before they are required by law, and will include the development of criteria for establishing baseline emissions, quantifying emission reductions and providing public recognition of reductions.
On April 3, 2007, Governor Mike Beebe of Arkansas established a Governor's Commission on Global Warming with the signing of HB2460. The commission will study the potential impacts of climate change on the state’s environment and economy, and then recommend a global warming pollutant reduction goal and strategies for achieving it. Commission members will include representatives from the state government as well as many groups including scientific, energy, forestry, agricultural, and environmental organizations, among others. The Commission must report its findings by November 1, 2008.