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
On October 18, 2007, Secretary of the Kansas Department of Health and Environment Roderick Bremby rejected an air permit for a proposed coal-fired power plant based on the threat to public health and the environment of carbon dioxide emissions. In the past, air permits have been denied over emissions such as sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxides, and mercury, but this marks the first rejection based on impacts from carbon dioxide emissions. The decision was based in part on an April Supreme Court decision that greenhouse gasses should be considered pollutants under the Clean Air Act. The plant was expected to produce 11 million tons of carbon dioxide annually.
On September 14, 2007, Alaska Governor Sarah Palin signed Administrative Order 238, establishing the Climate Change Sub-Cabinet. The sub-cabinet will consolidate the state’s knowledge of climate change in order to recommend policies and measures to guide the state’s mitigation and adaptation efforts. It includes the commissioners of the Departments of Commerce, Community and Economic Development; Natural Resources; Fish and Game; Transportation and Public Facilities; and Environmental Conservation (Chair). The Administrative Order also directs the group to consult with the president of the University of Alaska and explore ways to promote development of renewable energy sources such as geothermal, wind, hydroelectric, and tidal resources. Governor also signed a letter adding Alaska as an observer to the Western Climate Initiative.
On September 12, 2007, Governor Timothy M. Kaine of Virginia released the Virginia Energy Plan. The Plan aims to increase the state’s energy independence, conservation, and efficiency, and was drafted pursuant to 2006 legislation which directed the Department of Mines, Minerals, and Energy to develop a ten-year state energy plan. The recommendations were prepared by an advisory group representing citizens, consumers, the environmental community, and Virginia energy producers. The primary goals of the plan are to reduce the rate of growth in energy use by 40 percent, reduce greenhouse gas emissions 30 percent by 2025, and increase in-state energy production by 20 percent. The Plan also recommends consumer energy education, strategic economic development, alternative energy research, and the creation of a Climate Change Commission to assess the level of Virginia’s carbon emissions, related consequences, and potential further action. The Plan is to be updated every 5 years.
On September 12, 2007, the U.S. District Court for the District of Vermont decided case number 2:05-cv-302 against a group of automobile manufacturers challenging Vermont’s vehicle emissions standards for greenhouse gases. In August of 2005, the Vermont Air Pollution Control Division introduced an amendment to Vermont’s vehicle regulations. The amendment would require the state to adopt California’s proposed greenhouse gas emissions standards for motor vehicles. The standards would be gradually phased in between model-years 2009 and 2016, and by model-year 2016, would require reductions of tailpipe greenhouse gas emissions from new motor vehicles of approximately 30 percent. Vermont and 13 other states are poised to adopt the California standards. During the trial, auto industry executives argued that the proposed regulations would fail to stop global warming while imposing heavy costs for the industry. In issuing his ruling, Judge William Sessions III cited public statements of industry representatives, the state of the record, and the ingenuity of the industry in facing previous challenges. A similar legal challenge is still pending in California.
On August 28, 2007, Governor Rod Blagojevich of Illinois signed into law Public Act 095-0481, which sets a statewide Renewable Energy Standard and an Energy Efficiency Portfolio Standard. Under the RES, utilities in Illinois must produce a certain percentage of their power from renewable sources, starting with 2 percent in 2008 and increasing to 25 percent by 2025. Seventy-five percent of the electricity used to meet the renewable standard must come from wind power generation; other eligible electricity resources include solar, biomass, and existing hydropower sources. The law also includes an efficiency standard that requires utilities to implement cost-effective energy efficiency measures to reduce electric usage by 2 percent of demand by 2015.
On August 22, 2007, members of the Western Climate Initiative announced a regional, economy-wide greenhouse gas emissions target of 15 percent below 2005 levels by 2020, or approximately 33 percent below business-as-usual levels. Under the memorandum of understanding developed in February 2007, WCI members (which currently include the states of Arizona, California, New Mexico, Oregon, Utah, and Washington, and the Canadian provinces of British Columbia and Manitoba) agreed to jointly set a regional emissions target, and establish, by August 2008, a market-based system – such as a cap-and-trade program covering multiple economic sectors – to aid in meeting it. The regional target is designed to be consistent with existing targets set by individual member states and does not replace these goals. Covered emissions include the six primary greenhouse gases identified by the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change: carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, hydrofluorocarbons, perfluorocarbons, and sulfur hexafluoride.
Western Climate Initiative Statement of Regional Goal
Western Climate Initiative Website
Map of Regional Initiatives
On August 20, 2007, Governor Mike Easley of North Carolina signed into law S.L. 2007-397, which establishes a Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Portfolio Standard for the state. With enactment of the law, half the U.S. states and the District of Columbia now have mandatory renewable energy standards. Under North Carolina's law, by 2021 electric public utilities must meet 12.5% of retail electricity demand through renewable energy or energy efficiency measures, and electric membership corporations and municipalities that sell electric power in the state would have to meet a standard of 10 percent by 2018. Resources that can be used to meet the standard include solar energy, wind energy, hydropower, geothermal energy, ocean current or wave energy, biomass resources, and energy efficiency measures. The law also includes provisions to encourage the use of solar energy, swine and poultry wastes, as well as implementation of energy efficiency programs.
On August 6, 2007, Oregon Governor Ted Kulongoski signed House Bill 3543, which sets greenhouse gas emissions targets for the state. HB 3543 directs the state to stop the growth of greenhouse gas emissions by 2010 and to reduce GHG emissions to 10 percent below 1990 levels by 2020 and to 75 percent below 1990 levels by 2050. The bill creates the Oregon Global Warming Commission to recommend to state and local governments ways to reduce GHG emissions and measures the state may adopt to mitigate the impacts of global warming. By March of every other year, starting in 2009, the Commission is to submit to the Legislative Assembly a report of the state’s progress towards its GHG emissions reduction goal. HB 3543 creates the Oregon Climate Change Research Institute, which is charged to facilitate research by Oregon University System faculty on climate change and its effects. The bill allocates $180,000 to the Climate Change Research Institute.
Map of States with Greenhouse Gas Emissions Targets
Map of States with Active Climate Commissions and Advisory Groups
On July 24, 2007, Delaware Governor Ruth Ann Minner signed Senate Bill 19, which expands the state’s existing renewable portfolio standard to require that 2 percent of the state’s electricity supply come from solar photovoltaics by 2019, in addition to 18 percent from other renewable sources by the same date. Sources of energy that count toward the standard include wind, ocean tidal, ocean thermal, fuel cells powered by renewable fuels, hydroelectric facilities with a maximum capacity of 30 megawatts, sustainable biomass, anaerobic digestion, and landfill gas.
Map of States with Renewable Portfolio Standards
On July 13, 2007, Florida Governor Charlie Crist signed three climate change related executive orders. EO 07-126 sets GHG emission reduction targets for state agencies and departments of 10 percent below current levels by 2012, 25 percent below by 2017, and 40 percent below by 2025. The order adopts the U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED standards for all new state government facilities and all existing buildings owned by the Department of Management Services. EO 07-126 requires state-owned vehicles to be more fuel efficient and to use ethanol and biodiesel fuels when available. EO 07-127 sets statewide GHG emission reduction targets of 2000 levels by 2017, 1990 levels by 2025, and 80% below 1990 levels by 2050. The order directs the Florida Secretary of Environmental Protection to immediately develop rules to adopt the California motor vehicle GHG emission standards. The Florida Energy Code for Building Construction will be revised to increase the energy performance of new construction by at least 15 percent from the 2007 Energy Code. EO 07-127 requests that the Florida Public Service Commission initiate rulemaking to i. require that utilities produce at least 20 percent of their electricity from renewable sources and ii. to authorize statewide net metering. Executive Order 07-128 creates the Florida Governor’s Action Team on Energy and Climate Change to develop an Energy and Climate Change Action Plan to recommend ways to meet the new GHG reduction targets.
Executive Orders: 07-126, 07-127, 07-128
Maps of States with: GHG Emission Targets, Climate Action Plans, Climate Change Commissions and Advisory Groups, Net Metering Programs, Vehicle GHG Emissions Standards, Green Building Standards for State Buildings, Commercial Energy Codes