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

Connecticut Enacts Greenhouse Gas Emissions Targets

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On June 2, 2008, Connecticut Governor Jodi Rell signed into law House Bill 5600, which sets a statewide Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions reduction target of 10 percent below 1990 levels by 2020.  Additionally, barring intervention at the federal level or through the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI), the act requires an 80 percent GHG reduction below 2001 levels by 2050.  The act also presents a timetable for achieving the 2020 reductions: it calls for a statewide GHG inventory to be published by December 2009; modeling scenario results by July 2010; and recommended GHG reduction strategies by July 2011.   Connecticut is one of ten states participating in RGGI, which is set to launch a regional CO2 cap-and-trade program on January 1, 2009.

HB 5600
Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI)
State Target GHG Emissions

Bay Area Air Quality Management District Enacts Greenhouse Gas Fee

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On May 21, 2008, the Bay Area Air Quality Management District (BAAQMD) voted 15-1 to approve a new Greenhouse Gas (GHG) Fee for stationary sources.  Effective July 1, 2008, over 2500 GHG sources across the region, such as power plants, oil refineries and cement plants, will be subject to a fee of 4.4 cents per metric ton of CO2 equivalent.  Most facilities are expected to pay less than $1 annually, while the top seven emitters in the region will owe more than $50,000.  According to BAAQMD’s Staff Report, the Fee’s estimated Fiscal Year 2009 revenue of $1,116,000 is intended to offset the costs of the District’s Climate Protection Program (CPP).  The CPP provides input and support for helping meet the statewide emissions targets established in the 2006 California Global Warming Solutions Act, AB 32. The fee represents one of the first policies of its kind in the United States; the city of Boulder, Colorado, enacted a tax on GHG emissions from electricity generation in November 2006.

BAAQMD Staff Report
Read more about the California Global Warming Solutions Act
Boulder Climate Action Plan Tax

Ohio Adopts Alternative Energy Portfolio Standard

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On May 1, 2008, Governor Ted Strickland signed substitute Senate Bill 221 into law, establishing an alternative energy portfolio standard (AEPS) for the state of Ohio.  The law mandates that by 2025, at least 25 percent of all electricity sold in the state come from alternative energy resources.  At least half of the standard, or 12.5 percent of electricity sold, must be generated by renewable sources such as wind, solar (which must account for at least 0.5 percent of electricity use by 2025), hydropower, geothermal, or biomass.  At least half of this renewable energy must be generated in-state.  In addition to renewables, the additional 12.5 percent of the overall 25 percent standard can also be met through alternative energy resources like third-generation nuclear power plants, fuel cells, energy-efficiency programs, and clean coal technology that can control or prevent carbon dioxide emissions.  The bill also creates a renewable energy credit (REC) tracking system, which allows utilities to buy, sell, and trade credits to comply with the renewable energy and solar energy requirements.  Additionally, electric utilities will be required to achieve energy savings of 22.5 percent by the end of 2025 through energy efficiency programs. Utilities must also implement programs to reduce peak energy demand one percent beginning in 2009, and an additional .75 percent per year through 2018.  With the enactment of this new legislation, Ohio becomes the 27th state to establish a renewable electricity standard.

SB 221 authorizes the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio (PUCO) to develop rules for decoupling, a mechanism that separates utility profits from the volume of electricity sales.  The bill also requires PUCO to adopt rules establishing greenhouse-gas reporting requirements, including participation in the Climate Registry, which aims to develop a common system for tracking GHG emissions between jurisdictions.

SB 221
States with Renewable Portfolio Standards

Eighteen States Sign Declaration on Climate Policy

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On April 18, 2008, at  Yale University’s 2008 Conference of Governors on Climate Change, four governors  - along with  representatives from another 14 states - signed a joint declaration on the future of climate change policy in the United States. 

In agreeing to the declaration, the state representatives and the participating governors – Jon Corzine of New Jersey, M. Jodi Rell of Connecticut, Arnold Schwarzenegger of California, and Kathleen Sebelius of Kansas – recommitted to the task of addressing climate change.  The declaration identifies several principles to help inform national climate policy, including the need for a partnership approach between the federal and state governments, that state-based programs should continue to receive support, and that mandatory action at both the state and federal level should be rewarded and encouraged. The signatories pledged to coordinate their respective efforts, and to solicit the support of other states and members of Congress in taking action. They also agreed to reach out to current Presidential candidates in order to help shape the first 100 days of the next Administration.

In addition to the four states represented by the participating governors, the 14 other states who signed the policy declaration included Arizona, Colorado, Delaware, Florida, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, Maine, Michigan, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Virginia, and Washington.  The Conference also included presentations and keynote addresses from a number of speakers, including Nobel Laureate Dr. R.K. Pachauri, California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, and Theodore Roosevelt IV, Chair of Strategies for the Global Environment, the umbrella organization for the Center for Climate and Energy Solutions, formally the Pew Center on Global Climate Change.

Yale University 2008 Conference of Governors on Climate Change

Governors' Declaration on Climate Change

States Sue U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

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On April 2, 2008, 12 states, the District of Columbia, two cities, and several environmental groups sued the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency over its failure to regulate greenhouse gas emissions from motor vehicles. The states and other petitioners are asking the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia to force the EPA to issue within 60 days its formal determination of the public health impacts from GHG emissions. In filing their suit, the plaintiffs cited the Supreme Court’s April 2007 decision in Massachusetts et al v. EPA, in which the Court ruled that the EPA is authorized to regulate greenhouse gases under the federal Clean Air Act, and must consider doing so unless it can demonstrate that these gases do not contribute to climate change that harms human health and welfare. Since the Supreme Court’s ruling, the EPA has not issued any formal language or rules for the regulation of CO2 or other greenhouse gases. The states joining the lawsuit include California, Connecticut, Illinois, Maine, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, Washington, Arizona, Delaware, Iowa, Maryland and Minnesota.

Read the Petition

Kansas Governor Forms Climate Change Advisory Group, Initiates Climate Action Plan

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On March 21, 2008, Governor Kathleen Sebelius signed Executive Order 08-03, which establishes the Kansas Energy and Environmental Policy Advisory Group. The new 25-member Advisory Group will recommend steps that the state can take to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions, as well as a proposed timetable for implementation of those recommendations. The Advisory Group will consider issues such as community economic development and electricity generation, and opportunities for diversifying the state’s energy portfolio. Kansas joins 36 other states in formulating a climate action plan. Having previously denied permits to two new coal-fired power plants, Governor Sebelius also vetoed Senate Bill 327, which would have allowed construction of the plants to continue.

Press Release
Executive Order 08-03
Senate Bill 327
Governor's Message for Senate Bill 327

Vermont Governor Signs Efficiency Bill

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On March 20, 2008, Governor Jim Douglas signed into law Senate Bill S.209, the Energy Efficiency and Affordability Act of 2008.  The act establishes a statewide goal of producing 25 percent of the energy consumed in the state from renewable sources, particularly Vermont’s farms and forests, by 2025.  The act increases the use of net metering in the state and expands the use of biodiesel in state buildings and the state’s vehicle fleet.  It also includes new funding for efficiency programs that will coordinate expertise, technical assistance, and resources, as well as tax incentives designed to help promote investment in renewable energy resources.  In addition, the act establishes a fuel efficiency fund, financed by revenues from the sale of the state’s emission allowances under the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative’s (RGGI) cap-and-trade program.

Energy Efficiency and Affordability Act of 2008

Washington Governor Signs Climate Change Bill

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On March 13, 2008, Washington Governor Christine Gregoire signed into law House 2815, the Climate Change Framework/Green-Collar Jobs Act. The bill calls for reductions from the state’s transportation sector, Washington’s largest contributor to greenhouse gas emissions, by cutting vehicle miles traveled by 18 percent by 2020, 30 percent by 2035, and 50 percent by 2050. The bill directs state agencies to provide training and incentives in an effort to attract green-collar jobs to Washington. It also requires the state’s largest emitters to inventory and report their emissions beginning in 2010, and directs relevant state agencies to continue working regionally with other Western states and Canadian provinces to design and implement a market-based system to reduce greenhouse gas pollution from major sectors of the economy. Statewide targets adopted in 2007 require a reduction of greenhouse gas emissions to 1990 levels by 2020, 25 below 1990 levels by 2035, and 50 percent below 1990 levels by 2050. This new bill directs the Department of Ecology to submit a comprehensive plan to the legislature, outlining specific measures to reach these targets, and to provide an update on Washington’s ongoing participation in the Western Climate Initiative multisector cap-and-trade design process.

Press Release
HB 2815

Designing A Cap-and-Trade Program for the Midwest

Designing a Cap-and-Trade Program for the Midwest

March, 2008


Kathryn Zyla
World Resources Institute

Josh Bushinsky
Pew Center on Global Climate Change

Download the paper (pdf) 

The Greenhouse Gas Accord announced by ten Midwestern governors in November 2007 involves nearly one fourth of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions in a regional agreement to improve energy security and design a greenhouse gas (GHG) reduction program. Among the strategies described in this accord is the use of a market-based, multi-sector cap-and-trade mechanism to reduce emissions. As the Midwest explores options for such a program, it will face a variety of design choices regarding program goals, costs, and equity. This paper is intended to guide many of these choices by describing some of the options available.

This paper begins with a general overview of the basic building blocks of cap and trade, followed by a discussion of the potential scope of coverage of a program, including what entities might be regulated and which emissions. The paper then focuses on how to set the initial emissions cap and the trajectory for emissions reductions under a potential program. An examination of the options for distributing allowances, or permits to emit, follows. The document then explores how a program might grant early reduction credits, offer project-based offset credits, and provide other potential cost-containment measures. The potential for linking with other similar programs is then briefly discussed.


New Mexico Governor Signs Energy Efficiency Bill

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On February 27, 2008, New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson signed into law House Bill 305, which strengthens the state’s existing Efficient Use of Energy Act. The bill provides financial incentives to electric and gas utilities to reduce their customers’ energy consumption. HB 305 decouples utility revenues from electricity sales, allowing utilities to earn profits by investing in demand-side efficiency projects rather than simply building new power plants to meet demand. State regulators are now required to approve higher profits for energy-efficiency programs that are more cost-effective than building new electric generation plants. HB 305 also requires electric utilities to achieve energy-efficiency savings of at least five percent of 2005 sales by 2014, and 10 percent by 2020. New Mexico’s Public Regulation Commission (PRC) may set alternative requirements if the utility demonstrates it cannot meet those minimum requirements. The bill further strengthens the state’s energy efficiency measurement and verification requirement, and requires an assessment of utilities’ energy efficiency programs every three years by an independent program evaluator.

Press Release
HB 305

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