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
March 27, 2012
In a March 27 editorial, Bloomberg editors addressed how the U.S. can learn from China's push for capturing carbon and highlighted the work of the National Enhanced Oil Recovery Initiative (NEORI), a group of industry, state, environmental and labor leaders convened by C2ES and the Great Plains Institute. In the piece, Bloomberg endorses NEORI’s recommendation that Congress create a production tax credit for power companies that capture CO2 and send it to oil companies for enhanced oil recovery. Below is an excerpt from the editorial.
The federal government, too, could help push the technology forward, by taking up a smart strategy that has been suggested by a coalition of oil industry executives, environmentalists and state officials called the National Enhanced Oil Recovery Initiative. It has to do with the other side of the carbon- capture equation -- what to do with the CO2 once you’ve taken it out of the power-plant exhaust.
China’s Huaneng plant sells its carbon dioxide to companies that make carbonated drinks and dry ice. Duke envisions turning it into solid carbonate to be used for building materials or road construction. Some innovators are feeding CO2 to microscopic algae to produce either fuel or proteins used in nutrition supplements or animal feed.
But it can also be used to coax more oil out of the earth. Since 1972, oil companies have injected carbon dioxide taken from natural sources to free up crude trapped in rock formations. The industry operates 3,900 miles of pipelines carrying 65 million tons of CO2 per year, and “enhanced oil recovery,” as the technique is known, accounts for 6 percent of U.S. oil production.
With new technology and enough CO2, the industry could use enhanced recovery to increase production by 67 billion to 137 billion barrels, according to a report from the National Enhanced Oil Recovery Initiative. The report envisions using 20 billion to 45 billion metric tons of CO2 from carbon capture -- the total amount expected to be produced by power plants for the next 10 to 20 years.
We endorse the coalition’s recommendation that Congress create a production tax credit for power companies that capture CO2 and send it to oil companies for enhanced recovery. By increasing domestic oil production, such a credit is estimated to be able to pay for itself within a decade.
Click here to read the full editorial
Statement of Eileen Claussen
President, Center for Climate and Energy Solutions
March 27, 2012
We welcome EPA's proposal today to limit greenhouse gas emissions from new power plants and urge the Administration to quickly move forward with rules for existing plants, which account for 40 percent of U.S. carbon dioxide emissions. Power companies face huge investment decisions as they meet new pollution standards and retire or upgrade outdated plants. They need to know the full picture - including future greenhouse gas requirements - in order to keep our electricity supply as reliable and affordable as possible.
While highly efficient natural gas-fired power plants would meet the standard proposed today, new coal-fired power plants not already in the pipeline could likely meet the standard only by capturing and permanently sequestering their greenhouse gas emissions. This underscores the urgency of stronger public and private investment in carbon capture and storage technologies. The United States, China and India - the world's three largest greenhouse gas emitters - all have substantial coal reserves. If we can't figure out how to get the energy value out of coal with a minimal carbon footprint, we will not solve the climate problem.
With prospects for substantial public investment in CCS unclear, C2ES is now working with policymakers and stakeholders on ways to expand enhanced oil recovery using captured carbon dioxide - an approach that can boost domestic oil production, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and help lay the groundwork for full-scale carbon capture and storage.
Contact: Rebecca Matulka, 703-516-4146
Learn more about EPA's greenhouse gas standard for new power plants.
Bloomberg editors endorse NEORI's production tax credit recommendations
Few policy options can be a win-win for both political parties, as well as industry, environmental advocates, and labor. Similarly, increasing oil production and decreasing carbon emissions are thought of as conflicting goals. Yet, a solution may be on the horizon. On February 28, the National Enhanced Oil Recovery Initiative (NEORI) released its recommendations for advancing enhanced oil recovery with carbon dioxide (CO2-EOR). NEORI is a broad coalition of industry, state officials, labor, and environmental advocates.
While NEORI participants might not agree on many energy and environmental issues, each participant recognizes the vast potential of CO2-EOR and worked toward producing a set of policy recommendations for its expansion. CO2-EOR already produces 6 percent of U.S. oil, and it could potentially double or triple existing U.S. oil reserves. In comparison to other options, CO2-EOR offers an extraordinarily large potential expansion of domestic oil production, while also advancing an important environmental technology.
Market Mechanisms: Understanding the Options
The most recent study on climate change by the U.S. National Academy of Sciences concluded that, “Climate change is occurring, is caused largely by human activities, and poses significant risks for—and in many cases is already affecting—a broad range of human and natural systems. (See Climate Change 101: Science and Impacts.) The combustion of fossil fuels has contributed to the expansion of the global economy since the start of the Industrial Revolution. It has also substantially increased the concentration of carbon dioxide, the primary greenhouse gas in the atmosphere. The cumulative impact of these emissions poses significant economic risks. Policies to reduce emissions are required if we are to avoid the most costly damages of a rapidly changing climate. This brief describes how market-based policies can achieve climate goals more cheaply and efficiently than alternative policy structures—all while driving innovation to develop more cost effective, clean energy solutions that will serve as the foundation for strong economic growth throughout the 21st century.
While Americans bought nearly 18,000 PEVs last year, 2012 is the first full year when plug-in electric vehicles will be available nationwide. The long-term success of PEVs could bring some very real benefits to energy security, air quality, climate change, and economic growth.
Ridesharing: Context, Trends, and Opportunities
by Cynthia J. Burbank and Nick Nigro
March 6, 2012
Is enhanced oil recovery (EOR) the missing link in the United States' energy policy? During today's OnPoint, Judi Greenwald, vice president for technology and innovation at the Center for Climate and Energy Solutions and Robert Baugh, executive director of the AFL-CIO Industrial Union Council, outline the recommendations of the National Enhanced Oil Recovery Institute, a coalition of business and environmental groups. Greenwald and Baugh call on Congress to pass an enhanced oil recovery tax credit to spur innovation and growth in carbon capture and storage. They also address the environmental concerns associated with EOR. Click here to watch the interview.
North America 2050: A Partnership for Progress (NA2050) formally launched on March 14, 2012. NA2050 is a group of U.S. states and Canadian provinces committed to policies that move their jurisdictions toward a low-carbon economy while creating jobs, enhancing energy independence and security, protecting public health and the environment, and demonstrating climate leadership.
NA2050 is the successor to the 3-Regions Initiative, which was a collaboration among members of the three North American regional cap-and-trade programs: The Midwestern Greenhouse Gas Reduction Accord, the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative and the Western Climate Initiative. NA2050 is a broader effort, addressing clean energy in addition to climate change.
Work in NA2050 primarily takes place within seven working groups:
- Benefits: Evaluating and communicating the benefits of moving to a low-carbon economy
- Power Sector 2050: Influencing and preparing for U.S. Clean Air Act requirements for the electricity sector
- Industry 2050: Encouraging industrial energy efficiency through benchmarks
- Sequestration: Encouraging sequestration and reuse of CO2
- Sustainable Biomass: Examining best use and priority pathways for biomass
- Offsets: Developing high quality offsets
- Linking: Exploring linking of existing cap-and-trade programs
In working to address climate change, many states have reached beyond their borders to enlist their neighbors in collaborative efforts. Across the United States and Canada, multi-state climate initiatives have been designed to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, develop clean energy sources, and achieve other environmental and economic goals. Multi-state initiatives can be more efficient and effective than actions taken by individual states because they cover a broader geographic area (and, in turn, more sources of GHG emissions), eliminate duplication of work among the states, and help businesses by bringing greater uniformity and predictability to state rules and regulations.
Scroll down to learn more about these regional initiatives or jump to a specific initiative:
- North America 2050
- Western Climate Initiative
- Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative
- Midwest Greenhouse Gas Reduction Accord
- Transportation and Climate Initiative
Summary: In March 2012, a diverse array of states and provinces launched North America 2050: A Partnership for Progress (NA2050). NA2050 participants are committed to policies that move their jurisdictions toward a low carbon economy while creating jobs, enhancing energy independence and security, protecting public health and the environment, and demonstrating climate leadership. NA2050 is a multi-state, multi-regional collaborative working constructively on climate change and clean energy. C2ES serves as one of six nonprofit advisor groups for this partnership.
History: NA2050 is the successor to the 3-Regions Initiative, which was a collaboration among members of the three North American regional cap-and-trade programs: The Midwestern Greenhouse Gas Reduction Accord, the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative and the Western Climate Initiative. NA2050 is a broader effort, addressing clean energy in addition to climate change.
Summary: The Western Climate Initiative (WCI) is a collaboration of independent jurisdictions working together to identify, evaluate, and implement emission trading policies to tackle climate change at a regional level. Current WCI Partners are British Columbia, California, Manitoba, Ontario, and Quebec. Other U.S. states, Canadian provinces, Mexican states and tribes that are interested in collaborating to combat climate change at a regional level are encouraged to participate in the WCI.
In November 2011 WCI formed WCI, Inc., a nonprofit corporation, to provide administrative and technical services to support the implementation of state and provincial GHG emission trading programs. As WCI jurisdictions begin to implement cap-and-trade programs, WCI, Inc. will develop a compliance tracking system that tracks both allowances and offset certificates; administer allowance auctions; and conduct market monitoring of allowance auctions and allowance and offset certificate trading. California and Quebec will move forward with cap-and-trade in 2012, with compliance requirements beginning in 2013. Ontario, British Columbia, and Manitoba are committed to implementing programs in the near future as well.
History: On February 26, 2007, Governors Napolitano of Arizona, Schwarzenegger of California, Richardson of New Mexico, Kulongoski of Oregon, and Gregoire of Washington signed an agreement establishing the WCI, a joint effort to reduce GHG emissions and address climate change. Later, the governors of Utah and Montana, as well as the premiers of British Columbia, Manitoba, Ontario, and Quebec joined as Partners. An additional 14 jurisdictions joined as Observers, including the U.S. states of Alaska, Colorado, Idaho, Kansas, Nevada, and Wyoming; the Canadian provinces of Nova Scotia and Saskatchewan; and the Mexican border states of Baja California, Chihuahua, Coahuila, Nuevo Leon, Sonora, and Tamaulipas. In the Initiative's Memorandum of Understanding, WCI Partners agreed to jointly set a regional emissions target and establish a market-based system—such as a cap-and-trade program covering multiple economic sectors—to aid in meeting this target.
The WCI was built on work previously undertaken individually by participating states and provinces, as well as two earlier regional agreements: the Southwest Climate Change Initiative of 2006, including Arizona and New Mexico, and the West Coast Governors' Global Warming Initiative of 2003, including California, Oregon, and Washington.
In August 2007, the Western Climate Initiative announced its regional, economy-wide GHG emissions target of 15 percent below 2005 levels by 2020, or approximately 33 percent below business-as-usual levels. The regional target was 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.
In September 2008, the WCI released Design Recommendations for a Cap-and-Trade Program to begin in 2012. The program would cover emissions from electricity and large industrial and commercial sources in 2012, and would also cover emissions from transportation and other residential, commercial, and industrial fuel use beginning in 2015.
In July 2010, the WCI Partners released the Design for the WCI Regional Program, a comprehensive strategy designed to reduce GHG emissions, stimulate development of clean-energy technologies, create green jobs, increase energy security, and protect public health. It is a plan to reduce regional GHG emissions to 15 percent below 2005 levels by 2020, and is the culmination of two years of work by seven U.S. states and four Canadian provinces. It builds on the recommendations for a regional cap-and-trade program that the Partners released in September 2008.
As of November 2011, WCI includes British Columbia, California, Manitoba, Ontario, and Quebec. The remaining jurisdictions that had signed on to WCI are no longer part of the effort.
- Press Release on WCI Formation
- Western Climate Initiative Statement of Regional Goal
- Western Climate Initiative Website
- WCI Economic Modeling
- WCI, Inc. Website
- More Information on California’s Program
Summary: The Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) is the first mandatory US cap-and-trade program for carbon dioxide. RGGI sets a cap on emissions of carbon dioxide from power plants, and allows sources to trade emission allowances. The program began by capping emissions at current levels in 2009, and will reduce emissions 10% by 2018. The current members are Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, Rhode Island, and Vermont. Ontario, New Brunswick, Quebec, Pennsylvania and the District of Columbia are observers to RGGI. RGGI has been successfully running since 2008. A study released in November 2011 showed that RGGI has resulted in net economic benefit to participating states due to increased energy efficiency and other factors.
History: 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.
On January 18, 2007, Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick signed a Memorandum of Understanding committing his state to join RGGI, making Massachusetts the eighth state to participate. In his State of the State address on January 30, Governor Donald Carcieri announced that Rhode Island would also be joining RGGI.
On April 6, 2006, Maryland Governor Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. signed into law the Healthy Air Act. The bill required the Governor to include the state in RGGI by June 30, 2007. Maryland became the 10th official participating state in April 2007 with Governor Martin O'Malley's signing of the RGGI Memorandum of Understanding.
New Jersey announced in May 2011 that it would be exiting the program, a move that was complete by the beginning of 2012.
Summary: The Midwest Greenhouse Gas Reduction Accord (MGGRA) was a commitment by the governors of six Midwestern states and the premier of one Canadian province to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions through a regional cap-and-trade program and other complementary measures. Members of MGGRA are not currently pursuing their GHG goals through the Accord.
History: On November 15, 2007, the Governors of Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Wisconsin, as well as the Premier of Manitoba signed the Midwest Greenhouse Gas Reduction Accord (MGGRA) as full participants. The Governors of Indiana, Ohio, and South Dakota joined the agreement as observers. On November 27, 2008, the Premier of Ontario also joined as an observer. Under the Accord, members agreed to establish regional greenhouse gas reduction targets, including a long-term target of 60 to 80 percent below 2007 emission levels, and develop a multi-sector cap-and-trade system to help meet the targets. Participants also agreed to establish a greenhouse gas emissions reduction tracking system and implement other policies, such as low-carbon fuel standards, to aid in reducing emissions.
After releasing a model cap-and-trade rule in April 2010, the states and province in MGGRA did not continue pursuing their GHG goals through the Accord.
Summary: The Transportation Climate Initiative (TCI) is a regional collaboration of 12 Northeast and Mid-Atlantic jurisdictions that seeks to develop the clean energy economy and reduce GHG emissions in the transportation sector. TCI aims to "expand safe and reliable transportation options, attract federal investment, lower transportation costs, improve overall air quality and public health, and mitigate the transportation sector's impact on climate change." TCI includes Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, and Vermont, and the District of Columbia. Transportation currently accounts for 30 percent of GHG emissions in the Mid-Atlantic and Northeastern U.S.
History: On June 16, 2010, eleven Mid-Atlantic and Northeastern states, as well as the District of Columbia, announced a Declaration of Intent for the TCI. The jurisdictions involved with the TCI established the Transportation, Energy, and Environment Staff Working Group to direct the initiative's planning and seek public and private funding for projects. The Georgetown Climate Center facilitated the initial meeting of the TCI and continues to support the effort.
On October 19, 2011, the TCI jurisdictions announced that the creation of the Northeast Electric Vehicle Network to bolster economic growth, maintain the region’s leadership in the clean energy economy and reduce the area’s dependence on oil and its emissions of GHG and other pollutants. The eleven participating jurisdictions will promote all clean vehicles and fuels and facilitate planning for and the deployment of electric vehicle charging stations and related infrastructure throughout the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic states.
- More information on TCI
- More information on the Northeast Electric Vehicle Network
- Northeast Electric Vehicle Network Agreement
March 13, 2012
Contact: Tom Steinfeldt, email@example.com, 703-516-0638
Broad Coalition Offers Plan to Accelerate Adoption of Plug-In Electric Vehicles
C2ES-Led Group Recommends Strategies to Connect PEVs to the U.S. Electrical Grid
WASHINGTON, D.C. – A coalition including automakers, electric utilities, environmental groups, and state officials outlined joint recommendations today to accelerate the adoption of plug-in electric vehicles (PEVs) nationwide.
The PEV Dialogue Group, convened last year by the Center for Climate and Energy Solutions (C2ES), presented its recommendations at a Washington, D.C. event featuring remarks by group members from General Motors, Southern California Edison, the state of Michigan, and the Natural Resources Defense Council.
The group’s report, An Action Plan to Integrate Plug-in Electric Vehicles with the U.S. Electrical Grid, provides a roadmap for coordinated public and private sector action at state and local levels to ensure that PEV owners can conveniently plug in their cars without overtaxing the grid. It recommends steps to ensure compatible regulatory approaches nationwide, balance public and private investments in charging infrastructure, and better inform consumers about PEVs.
“With plug-in electrics, we now have a mass-produced alternative to the internal combustion engine,” said C2ES president Eileen Claussen. “This is a major opportunity to tackle both energy security and climate change, and to put American industries and workers out front on a truly transformative technology. But for PEVs to succeed, we need all the right parties working together. That’s what this plan is all about.”
Nearly 18,000 PEVs were sold in the United States last year; over the next year or two, all of the major automakers plan to have models on the road. Some PEVs like the Nissan Leaf rely entirely on battery power, while others like the Chevy Volt have small backup engines to extend their driving range.
Broad deployment of PEVs, which use little or no gasoline, can significantly reduce U.S. reliance on imported oil and curb harmful tailpipe emissions. If accompanied by the gradual decarbonization of U.S. electricity, PEVs can also significantly reduce emissions of greenhouse gases. But growth of the PEV market faces major challenges, including new infrastructure letting owners plug in at home and on the road while ensuring the reliability of the grid.
The PEV Dialogue Group’s Action Plan includes recommendations to:
- Encourage state public utility commissions and other policymakers to establish a consistent regulatory framework nationwide to harmonize technical standards; streamline the installation of household and commercial charging stations; and use electricity rate structures to promote charging at off-peak hours.
- Assist local policymakers and stakeholders in assessing local needs, developing tailored strategies, and optimizing public and private investment in charging infrastructure.
- Provide consumers with reliable information on the costs and benefits of PEVs and the choices among PEV technologies.
“Instead of policies that increase our addiction to oil, we need to provide Americans more transportation choices,” said Roland Hwang, transportation director at the Natural Resources Defense Council. “Putting millions of electric vehicles on the road will cut drivers’ fuel bills, help the auto industry, keep billions of dollars in the U.S. economy, and curb emissions of dangerous air pollutants. By working together across the political spectrum to enact this Action Plan, we can create a vibrant market for electric cars, restore U.S manufacturing leadership and create thousands of jobs.”
“The U.S. electrical grid is a national energy security asset and has the excess capacity, off-peak to support millions of electric vehicles right now,” said Edward Kjaer, director of PEV readiness, at Southern California Edison, a major electric utility. “With the PEV Action Plan, C2ES has spearheaded an important effort that will help us all use this critical domestic resource for transportation and begin to reduce this nation's dependence on imported oil."
“GM is glad to work with groups such as C2ES that are working to advance the adoption of electric vehicles through real-world best practices and stakeholder education,” said Michael Robinson, vice president of sustainability and global regulatory affairs at GM.
“It has been a pleasure to work with the other members of the PEV Dialogue Group and identify policies that will help seamlessly integrate plug-in electric vehicles with our electrical grid,” said Orjiakor Isiogu, a member of the Michigan Public Service Commission. “I look forward to continuing my work within the group and helping it properly balance the needs of electricity customers and the opportunity presented by PEVs.”
C2ES will work with the PEV Dialogue Group and others to promote implementation of the Action Plan. Over the coming months, C2ES is working with the Washington State Department of Transportation to advise transportation officials in seven states on steps to accelerate PEV adoption, and with the U.S. Department of Energy to support DOE-funded Clean Cities Coalitions working in dozens of communities across the country to develop local PEV deployment plans.
The Center for Climate and Energy Solutions (C2ES) is an independent non-profit, non-partisan organization promoting strong policy and action to address the twin challenges of energy and climate change. Launched in November 2011, C2ES is the successor to the Pew Center on Global Climate Change, long recognized in the United States and abroad as an influential and pragmatic voice on climate issues. C2ES is led by Eileen Claussen, who previously led the Pew Center and is the former U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs.
PEV Dialogue Group Participants
- A123 Systems
- Argonne National Laboratory
- Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers
- Better Place
- Center for Climate and Energy Solutions
- City of Raleigh, NC
- U.S. Department of Energy
- Edison Electric Institute (EEI)
- Electric Drive Transportation Association (EDTA)
- Electrification Coalition
- Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI)
- General Electric
- General Motors
- Georgetown Climate Center
- Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission*
- Johnson Controls Inc.
- Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments
- Michigan Public Service Commission*
- National Wildlife Federation
- North Carolina Department of Transportation
- Northeast Utilities System
- Natural Resources Defense Council
- NRG Energy
- PJM Interconnection
- Rockefeller Brothers Fund
- Rocky Mountain Institute
- Southern California Edison
- U.S. Department of Transportation
- University of Delaware
- Washington State Department of Transportation
*The role of these group members must be limited to technical contribution because of their organizational function.