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
 

California Public Utilities Commission Adopts GHG Emissions Cap

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On February 16, 2006, the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) unanimously decided to establish a cap on greenhouse gas emissions. The cap will initially cover electricity retailers, and will include natural gas utilities over the longer term. The CPUC’s decision follows Governor Schwarzenegger’s announcement of GHG reduction targets last June and is consistent with the recommendations included in the California Climate Action Team’s recent draft report. The CPUC plans to define the implementation phase through a public process, and preference will be given to flexible compliance options such as offsets, trading, banking, and borrowing. All power purchase agreements signed by the utilities will require the supplier to register its emissions with the California Climate Action Registry and sales of excess allowances outside the state will be allowed. Costs and benefits of the framework that emerges in the implementation phase will be evaluated by CPUC.

Press Release

Press Release: Agenda for Climate Action

Press Release
February 8, 2006

Contact: Katie Mandes, (703) 516-0606

PEW CENTER ON GLOBAL CLIMATE CHANGE RELEASES FIRST COMPREHENSIVE APPROACH TO CLIMATE CHANGE

All Sectors Must Share in Solution

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Pew Center on Global Climate Change released the first comprehensive plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the United States.  The Agenda for Climate Action identifies both broad and specific policies, combining recommendations on economy-wide mandatory emissions cuts, technology development, scientific research, energy supply, and adaptation with critical steps that can be taken in key sectors.  The report is the culmination of a two-year effort that articulates a pragmatic course of action across all areas of the economy.  

The report calls for a combination of technology and policy and urges action in six key areas:  (1) science and technology, (2) market-based programs, (3) sectoral emissions, (4) energy production and use, (5) adaptation, and (6) international engagement.  Within these six areas, the Agenda outlines fifteen specific recommendations that should be started now, including U.S. domestic reductions and engagement in the international negotiation process.  All the recommendations are capable of implementation in the near-term. 

The report concludes that there is no single technology fix, no single policy instrument, and no single sector that can solve this problem on its own.  Rather, a combination of technology investment and market development will provide for the most cost-effective reductions in greenhouse gases, and will create a thriving market for GHG-reducing technologies.  To address climate change without placing the burden on any one group, the report urges actions throughout the economy. 

“Some believe the answer to addressing climate change lies in technology incentives.  Others say limiting emissions is the only answer.  We need both,” said Eileen Claussen, President of the Pew Center.

Emissions in the United States continue to rise at an alarming rate.  U.S. carbon dioxide emissions have grown by more than 18% since 1990, and the Department of Energy now projects that they will increase by another 37% by 2030. 

Joining the Pew Center at the announcement were representatives from the energy and manufacturing sectors.  Speaking at the release were:  David Hone, Group Climate Change Adviser, Shell International Limited; Melissa Lavinson, Director, Federal Environmental Affairs and Corporate Responsibility, PG&E Corporation; Bill Gerwing, Western Hemisphere Health, Safety, Security, and Environment Director, BP; John Stowell, Vice President, Environmental Strategy, Federal Affairs and Sustainability, Cinergy Corp., Ruksana Mirza, Vice President, Environmental Affairs, Holcim (US) Inc.; and Tom Catania, Vice President, Government Relations, Whirlpool Corporation.

Recommendations:

While actions are needed across all sectors, some steps will have a more significant, far-reaching impact on emissions than others and must be undertaken as soon as possible. 

  • A program to cap emissions from large sources and allow for emissions trading will send a signal to curb releases of greenhouse gases while promoting a market for new technologies.
  • Transportation is responsible for roughly one-third of our greenhouse gas emissions, and this report addresses this sector through tradable emissions standards for vehicles.
  • Because energy is at the core of the climate change problem, the report makes several recommendations in this area: calling for increased efficiency in buildings and products, as well as in electricity generation and distribution.  Incentives and a nationwide platform to track and trade renewable energy credits are recommended to support increased renewable power.  In recognition of the key role that coal plays in U.S. energy supply, the report calls for the capture and sequestration of carbon that results from burning coal. Nuclear power currently provides a substantial amount of non-emitting electricity, and is therefore important to keep in the generation mix. The report recommends support for advanced generation of nuclear power, while noting that issues such as safety and waste disposal must also be addressed.
  • While most of the recommendations focus on mitigation efforts, the report acknowledges that some impacts are inevitable and are already being seen. As a result, it proposes development of a national adaptation strategy to plan for a climate-changing world. 
  • Finally, despite the importance of efforts by individual countries on this issue, climate change cannot be addressed without engagement of the broader international community.  The report recommends that the U.S. participate in international negotiations aimed at curbing global greenhouse gas emissions by all major emitting countries.

Other recommendations include: long-term stable research funding, incentives for low-carbon fuels and consumer products, funding for biological sequestration, expanding the natural gas supply and distribution network, and a mandatory greenhouse gas reporting program that can provide a stepping stone to economy-wide emissions trading. 

The full text of this and other Pew Center reports is available at http://www.c2es.org.  

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The Pew Center was established in May 1998 by The Pew Charitable Trusts, one of the United States’ largest philanthropies and an influential voice in efforts to improve the quality of the environment.  The Pew Center is an independent, nonprofit, and non-partisan organization dedicated to providing credible information, straight answers, and innovative solutions in the effort to address global climate change.  The Pew Center is led by Eileen Claussen, the former U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs.

Midwest Legislators Tackle Climate and Clean Energy

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On February 7, 2006, a bipartisan group of state legislators throughout the Midwest announced their commitment to address climate and clean energy in their states. These legislators from Illinois, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio and Wisconsin, have introduced various pieces of legislation to promote renewable energy, energy efficiency, vehicle emissions, and greenhouse gas registries. The legislators are also working to encourage coal gasification and carbon sequestration, a key issue for Midwestern states that rely heavily on coal-fired generation. The legislators are working with the National Caucus of Environmental Legislators to coordinate their actions. NCEL is a non-partisan organization of legislators committed to protecting the environment.

Press Release

Illinois Establishes Agricultural Carbon Credit Program

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To promote environmental protection and economic opportunities for farmers, the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency instituted the Illinois Conservation and Climate Initiative (ICCI) on January 26, 2006. ICCI is a voluntary program awarding farmers carbon offset credits for greenhouse gas (GHG) sequestration practices such as conservation tillage, planting grasses and trees and capturing methane from animal operations. After third-party verification of the offsets, credits will be sold to the Chicago Climate Exchange (CCX) through the nonprofit Delta Institute. The Chicago Climate Exchange is a market for trading greenhouse gas emission credits between members who have voluntarily adopted GHG emission reduction commitments. The Illinois Environmental Protection Agency and Department of Natural Resources will manage outreach and education programs to inform Illinois farmers about this opportunity to create value through agricultural carbon management.

Press Release

Seven Northeastern states agree to the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative

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On December 20, 2005, the governors of seven Northeastern states announced the creation of the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI). The governors of Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, and Vermont signed a Memorandum of Understanding agreeing to implement the first mandatory U.S. cap-and-trade program for carbon dioxide. RGGI sets a cap on emissions of carbon dioxide from power plants, and allows sources to trade emissions allowances. The program will begin by capping emissions at current levels in 2009, and then reducing emissions 10% by 2019.

RGGI Q & A
More information on RGGI
Visit the RGGI web-site

New Jersey Classifies Carbon Dioxide as Air Contaminant

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Furthering New Jersey’s commitment to combat climate change, Acting Governor Richard J. Codey adopted regulations classifying carbon dioxide as an air contaminant. The new classification was announced October 18, 2005, and amends several air pollution control rules. This announcement facilitates the state’s engagement in the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI), which aims to stabilize and reduce carbon dioxide emissions across nine Northeastern states.

Press Release
Notice of Rule Proposal
RGGI

Rhode Island to Adopt California Vehicle Emissions Standards

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Governor Don Carcieri announced Rhode Island’s intention to adopt California’s standards for motor vehicle greenhouse gas emissions on October 13, 2005. The Governor cited concerns over climate change, air pollution and the threat to consumers of rising gasoline prices in the state’s decision. Beginning with new 2009 model year cars and trucks, these regulations 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. Connecticut projects that fuel savings will offset the costs of adding fuel efficiency and emission reduction technologies to new vehicles. Presently, Rhode Island’s transportation sector contributes 40 percent of the state’s total greenhouse gas emissions.

Press Release
Map of States Poised to Follow California’s Vehicle GHG Emissions Standards
California’s Vehicle GHG Emissions Standards

North Carolina Establishes Climate Change Commission

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North Carolina Governor Mike Easley signed a bill establishing the Legislative Commission on Global Climate Change on September 27, 2005. In addition to House and Senate appointees, the 34-member commission will include leaders from the state power industry, the Manufacturers and Chemical Industry Council, the North Carolina Farm Bureau and Forestry Associations, environmental organizations and academia, among others. The commission is charged with addressing the threats posed by global warming and determining the costs and benefits of the various mitigation strategies adopted by state and national governments. The commission will also assess the state’s potential economic opportunities in emerging carbon markets. Based on its findings, the commission will determine the desirability of a statewide greenhouse gas emission goal and make recommendations for an appropriate path forward. Findings and recommendations are due to the General Assembly by November 1, 2006.

Read the Legislation

New Mexico Joins Chicago Climate Exchange

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New Mexico Joins Chicago Climate Exchange

New Mexico became the first state to enroll in the Chicago Climate Change Exchange (CCX), the only carbon emissions cap-and-trade scheme currently active in the U.S. Members of CCX enter contractual agreements to cut their emissions. Depending on their performance, they can sell, bank, or purchase emission credits, which are traded daily over the Internet. Members of CCX include companies such as IBM, Du Pont, and Ford Motor Co. and cities such as Chicago, Oakland, and Boulder. The New Mexico state government will reduce its emissions 4% by 2006 and 6% by 2010. The state‘s entry into CCX is consistent with Governor Bill Richardson’s GHG emission reduction targets for the state. In June 2005 Governor Richardson signed an executive order setting statewide commitments to reduce New Mexico’s total greenhouse gas emissions to 2000 levels by 2012, 10 percent below those levels by 2020, and 75 percent below 2000 levels by 2050.

Political Climate Change

Full Article (PDF)

by Truman Semans, Director for Markets and Business Strategy at the Pew Center--Appeared in Petroleum Economist, September 2005
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