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

Boulder Passes Tax on Greenhouse Gas Emissions from Electricity Generation

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On November 8, 2006, voters in Boulder, Colorado, passed the first energy tax in the nation designed to fund efforts to fight global warming. This Climate Action Plan Tax on greenhouse gas emissions-generating electricity is collected by the local electric utility based on the amount of electricity used by customers. The tax only applies to electricity generated from the combustion of carbon-emitting fossil fuels such as coal and natural gas; customers signed up through a voluntary program to receive some or all of their electricity from wind power will be exempt from the tax for the carbon-free share of their electricity use. On average, the tax will add about $1.33 per month to household electricity bills, and $3.80 per month for businesses. The collected revenue, estimated to be about $1 million a year through 2012, will be used by Boulder’s Office of Environmental Affairs to help the city meet the goals set under its 2006 Climate Action Plan, which include investment in renewable energy sources, energy efficiency for buildings, and transportation initiatives. The city’s plan aims to reduce greenhouse gas emissions seven percent below 1990 levels by 2012.

Press Release

Washington Voters Adopt Renewable Portfolio Standard for Major Utilities

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On November 7, 2006, Washington state voters approved ballot initiative 937, setting renewable energy standards for utility companies in the state. The measure requires all utilities serving 25,000 people or more to produce 15% of their energy using renewable sources by 2020. Such sources include wind, solar, and tidal power as well as landfill-methane capture. With the initiative’s approval, Washington becomes the 23rd state to implement a renewable portfolio standard. Washington is the second state to adopt an RPS by ballot initiative, following Colorado's passage of an RPS in 2004.

Initiative Measure No. 937
Map of States with Renewable Portfolio Standards

Colorado Voters Approve Renewable Energy Standard

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On November 2, 2004, Colorado residents approved Amendment 37, a ballot initiative creating a Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS). Under the new standard, utilities with over 40,000 customers must provide an increasing percentage of electricity from renewables, reaching 10 percent by 2015. The Colorado RPS defines renewables as including all solar, wind, geothermal, and biomass, and small hydroelectricity systems (of 10 megawatts or less). Currently, renewable energy supplies 2% of Colorado’s electricity demand. The amendment also established net-metering standards and mandated rebates for customer photovoltaic systems. It also capped residential rate increases due to investments in renewables at 50 cents per month. Colorado is the only state to approve a Renewable Portfolio Standard through a ballot initiative. Proponents of the measure cited energy supply diversity and rural job creation as the major impetus for the legislation. Colorado is the 17th U.S. state to adopt an RPS.

See a Map of States with Renewable Portfolio Standards
Read the Colorado Ballot Initiative

Climate Change Institute to Engage State Legislatures

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Pew Center on Global Climate Change hosts a conference on understanding climate change science and the status of relevant technologies.

November 29 - December 1, 2006
Wingspread Conference Center
33 East Four Mile Road
Racine, Wisconsin 53402

From November 29 to December 1, 2006, the Pew Center on Global Climate Change, in collaboration with the National Conference of State Legislatures and the Johnson Foundation, hosted a climate change institute for state legislators. The conference covered many issues including understanding climate change science, the status of relevant technologies, and how other levels of government and various states across the country are responding to climate change. The conference offered attendees a chance to meet experts in fields related to climate change as well as colleagues who are considering climate change issues throughout the nation.


November 29, 2006

Dinner Keynote Speaker

  • An Alaskan Perspective on Climate Change - Reggie Joule, State Representative, Alaska
November 30, 2006

Climate Change 101

  • Jerry Mahlman, Senior Research Associate, Institute for the Study of Society and the Environment and the National Center of Atmospheric Research

Technology Update

  • M. Granger Morgan, Professor and Department Head, Department of Engineering and Public Policy, Carnegie Mellon University (pdf)
  • Patrick Hughes, Building Technologies Integration Manager, Engineering Science and Technology Division, Oak Ridge National Laboratory (pdf)
  • Sally Benson, Earth Sciences Division, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (pdf)
  • Keith Paustian, Professor of Soil and Crop Sciences, Natural Resource Ecology Laboratory, Colorado State University (pdf)
  • David Greene, Corporate Fellow, Oak Ridge National Laboratory (pdf)

Business Perspectives

  • Lewis L. Falbo, Director, Worldwide Safetey, Health, and Environmental Operations, S.C. Johnson & Son, Inc. (pdf)
  • Barbara J. Swan, Executive Vice President and General Counsel, Alliant Energy (pdf)

Keynote Speaker

  • A Wisconsin Perspective on Climate Change - Robert W. Wirch, State Senator, Wisconsin
December 1st, 2006

What Are Other Countries Doing?

  • Elliot Diringer, Director of International Strategies, Pew Center on Global Climate Change (pdf)
  • James Reilly, Senior Energy and Environment Advisor, British Embassy (pdf)

What Are Local Governments Doing?

  • Julie Rosenberg, State and Local Capacity Branch, United States Environmental Protection Agency (pdf)

Next Steps for States

  • Judi Greenwald, Director of Innovative Solutions, Pew Center on Global Climate Change (pdf)
  • Paul Pinsky, State Senator, Maryland

California Explores Greenhouse Trading Links with New York, RGGI States

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On October 16, 2006 California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger and New York Governor George Pataki announced plans to link emissions trading between the carbon markets being developed for California and the states participating in the Northeastern Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) which currently include New York, New Jersey, New Hampshire, Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, and Vermont (Maryland will join at the end of June 2007). Governor Schwarzenegger’s announcement included an executive order that will name California Secretary for Environmental Protection Linda Adams as coordinator of state climate change policy, directing her to work with the California Air Resources Board to develop a plan that will link emission credit markets in California with those being developed by RGGI. By combining markets, California and the RGGI states hope to achieve their emissions reductions targets in the most efficient manner possible.

Press Release
Executive Order S-17-06

Innovative Approaches to Climate Change: A State and Regional Workshop

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October 10 and 11, 2006
Westin Embassy Row Hotel
2100 Massachusetts Ave. NW
Washington, DC, 20008

On October 10 and 11, 2006, the Pew Center on Global Climate Change, in collaboration with the Pew Center on the States, hosted a workshop focused on state and regional action in response to climate change. The event brought together state officials to share their experience developing and implementing climate policies.


October 10, 2006

Lunch Keynote Speaker

  • Eileen Claussen, President, Pew Center on Global Climate Change

Panel #1: Northeast Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI)

  • Gina McCarthy, Commissioner, Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection (pdf)
  • Jeanne Fox, President, New Jersey Board of Public Utilities (pdf)

Panel #2: Energy and Climate Change in the West

  • Steve Ellenbecker, Energy Advisor, Wyoming Governor Dave Freudenthal (pdf)
  • Steve Owens, Director, Arizona Department of Environmental Quality (pdf)
  • Terry Tamminen, Author and Former Secretary of the California Environmental Protection Agency

Dinner Keynote Speaker

  • Doug Foy, Policy Advisor, Pew Center on the States

October 11, 2006

Breakfast Keynote Speaker

  • Montana Governor Brian Schweitzer

Panel #3: Midwest: Power and Transportation

  • Betsy Engelking, Powering the Plains and Xcel Energy (pdf)
  • Bill Blum, Iowa Department of Natural Resources (pdf)
  • Doug Scott, Director, Illinois Environmental Protection Agency

Panel #4: U.S. Congressional and State Legislative Action

  • Adrienne Alvord, Principal Consultant, Office of California State Assemblymember Fran Pavley
  • Brooke Bennett, Staff to U.S. Representative Tom Davis, Virginia
  • George Givens, Principal Legislative Analyst/Attorney, North Carolina General Assembly (pdf)
  • Bob Simon, Staff Director, Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources (pdf)

Lunch Keynote Speaker

  • Steve Kline, Vice President for Corporate Environmental and Federal Affairs, PG&E Corporation (pdf)

Panel #5: Thinking about Linking State and Regional Efforts

  • Dian Grueneich, Commissioner, California Public Utilities Commission (pdf)
  • Franz Litz, Climate Change Policy Coordinator, New York State Department of Environmental Protection (pdf)
  • Phyllis Reha, Commissioner, Minnesota Public Utilities Commission (pdf)

Illinois Governor Establishes State GHG Emissions Target, Creates Climate Change Advisory Group

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On October 5, 2006, Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich signed an executive order launching a new global warming initiative and mandating a 6 percent cut in the state government’s greenhouse gas emissions by 2010. The Governor also announced that Illinois will become the second state (after New Mexico) to join the Chicago Climate Exchange, a voluntary emissions trading market, and that the state will buy credits on the exchange should it fail to reach its emissions goals. The executive order directed the formation of a Climate Change Advisory Group to consider strategies and make recommendations on how the state can best reduce its greenhouse gas emissions. The Advisory Group, which includes scientists and representatives from business, industry, and the environmental community, must present its findings and recommendations to the Governor by June 30, 2007.

Press Release
Executive Order 11 (2006)
Illinois EPA Director Doug Scott Interviewed on Environment and Energy TV's OnPoint
Map of States with Climate Change Commissions and Advisory Groups

Schwarzenegger Signs Historic Global Warming Legislation, Electricity Emissions Standard Bill, Renewable Energy Bill

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As September 2006 drew to a close Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger signed three pieces of legislation that will reduce California’s greenhouse gas emissions. Governor Schwarzenegger signed the most comprehensive of the new laws, the landmark Global Warming Solutions Act (AB 32) at an official ceremony on September 27. The law caps the state’s greenhouse gas emissions at 1990 levels by 2020. This emissions target is approximately equal to a 25% reduction from current levels and is the first statewide program in the country to mandate an economy-wide emissions cap that includes enforceable penalties. The bill requires the State Air Resources Board to establish a program for statewide greenhouse gas emissions reporting and to monitor and enforce compliance with this program. It also authorizes the state board to adopt market-based compliance mechanisms including emissions cap-and-trade, and allows a one-year extension of the targets under extraordinary circumstances.

Two days later, on September 29, Governor Schwarzenegger signed SB 1368, authored by State Senator Don Perata. The new law directs the California Energy Commission to set a greenhouse gas performance standard for electricity procured by local publicly owned utilities, whether it is generated within state borders or imported from plants in other states, and will apply to all new long-term electricity contracts. The standard – to be adopted by June 30, 2007 – will discourage the purchasing of electricity produced from high-emissions sources, whether instate or out-of-state. It will push utilities to rely more on clean sources, including coal with carbon capture and sequestration, and renewables. This will help California to achieve its new economy-wide emissions targets.

Earlier in the same week, on September 26 Governor Schwarzenegger signed SB 107, which requires California’s three major utilities – Pacific Gas & Electric, Southern Edison, and San Diego Gas & Electric – to produce at least 20 percent of their electricity using renewable sources by 2010.

Press Release
AB 32
SB 1368 (pdf)
SB 107 (pdf)
List of Emissions Reduction Targets Worldwide
Map of States with GHG Emissions Targets

Arizona Governor Establishes Statewide GHG Emissions Reduction Target

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On September 8, 2006, Arizona Governor Janet Napolitano issued an executive order to implement recommendations included in the Climate Change Advisory Group’s Climate Action Plan. The Governor established a statewide goal to reduce Arizona’s GHG emissions to 2000 levels by 2020, and 50% below this level by 2040. The executive order directs the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality to develop a GHG emissions reporting mechanism, to establish a GHG registry with other Western states, and to coordinate with the Arizona Department of Transportation to adopt and implement California’s vehicle GHG standards. The Executive Order also creates a Climate Change Executive Committee to develop a strategy to implement the other recommendations contained in the Climate Action Plan.

Press Release
Climate Change Action Plan (pdf)
List of Emissions Reduction Targets Worldwide
Map of States with GHG Emissions Targets
Map of States with Climate Action Plans

Schwarzenegger Signs Million Solar Roofs Plan

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On August 21, 2006, California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger signed a bill expanding the state’s $3.2 billion solar subsidy program to include incentives to customers of municipally owned utilities. The bill provides for the installation of 1 million rooftop solar panels, which would generate approximately 3,000 megawatts of solar electric power and reduce greenhouse emissions by 3 million tons per year. The new legislation requires homebuilders to offer rooftop solar panels to prospective home buyers beginning in 2011, and increases the cap on the number of customers who can sell excess energy back to power companies from 0.5 to 2.5 percent.

Press Release

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