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

Utah Passes Key Renewable Energy Law

Promoted in Energy Efficiency section: 

On March 19, 2012, Utah Governor Gary Herbert signed S.B. 12 into law, giving non-utility electricity consumers the ability to buy power directly from renewable energy generators. S.B. 12 is the product of close collaboration among state government officials, utilities, renewable energy producers, consumer groups, and industrial stakeholders, such as eBay, which initiated the effort to introduce legislation. S.B. 12 is intended to promote the development of the renewable energy market in Utah, a state that derives 94 percent of its electricity from coal. It also makes the state more attractive to companies that have embraced sustainable business practices and are looking for supportive locations to locate investment and jobs.

S.B. 12 provides both opportunity and flexibility for consumers looking to purchase renewable energy. Previously, only utilities were legally able to purchase electricity from renewable generators, but utilities are frequently sensitive to customer rate increases that may accompany renewable purchases. Large consumers were prevented from buying renewable electricity even if they were willing to pay more for it or viewed renewable electricity as a good long-term investment to protect against fossil fuel price increases. S.B. 12 offers a solution where consumers can negotiate directly with renewable generators and purchase electricity according to their willingness to pay, while still allowing Utah’s utilities to play a role in transmitting and distributing electricity. To reach a consensus, eBay, along with its partner stakeholders, created a working group to craft legislation, which helped the resulting bill pass unanimously in both houses of the state legislature. State officials hope the legislation will convince other businesses looking to embrace sustainability to invest in the state and help Utah to meet its goal to generate 20 percent of its electricity from renewables by 2025.

ClimateWire, "eBay helps Utah bridge the gap between buyers, renewable energy providers"

eBay Press Release

Forbes, "EBay And Republican Lawmaker Score Clean Energy Win In Utah"

March 2012 Newsletter

Click here to view our March 2012 newsletter.

Learn about new EPA power plant rules, an action plan to get more electric vehicles on the road, recommendations from the National Enhanced Oil Recovery Intiative to boost domestic oil production while cutting CO2 emissions from power plants, and more in C2ES's March 2012 newsletter.

Bloomberg Editors Endorse NEORI Recommendation

March 27, 2012
Bloomberg Editorial

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


Eileen Claussen Comments on EPA's Proposed Greenhouse Gas Standard for New Power Plants

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.


Capturing CO2 Emissions to Produce Domestic Oil: NEORI and CO2-EOR’s Unique Solution

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.

Join Us 3/20 at 1 pm ET for a Live Chat: Plugging Electric Vehicles into the U.S. Grid

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

Ridesharing: Context, Trends, and Opportunities

March 2012

by Cynthia J. Burbank and Nick Nigro

Download the full brief (PDF)


Transportation in the United States faces significant challenges, including uncertain funding, congestion, unsustainable trends in energy consumption and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, and high costs to households and government. Ridesharing represents a cost-effective option for addressing many of these concerns. Although ridesharing has declined in recent decades, it continues to play an important role in the transportation system today, and new developments such as social media present opportunities to increase ridesharing nationwide. This paper examines the role and potential of ridesharing, specifically carpooling and vanpooling (C/V), in the U.S. transportation system, and concludes that ridesharing merits greater support from federal, state and local transportation agencies.
Cynthia J. Burbank
Nick Nigro

Judi Greenwald Discusses Enhanced Oil Recovery on E&E TV

Watch the interview

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.

Click here for additional information about the National Enhanced Oil Recovery Institute.

Launch of New Multi-State Climate and Clean Energy Partnership

Promoted in Energy Efficiency section: 

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


North America 2050 Website

North America 2050 Launch Notice

Multi-State Climate Initiatives

Many states have reached across borders to collaborate in in efforts to address climate change. Across the United States and Canada, multi-state climate initiatives have been designed and implemented to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and spur public and private investment in clean energy, energy efficiency and sustainable infrastructure. Multi-state initiatives can be more effective and efficient in reducing greenhouse gases across a broad area because they provide predictable rules and avoid duplicative processes. Click on the initiatives below to learn more:


North America 2050

Summary: A diverse array of states and provinces launched North America 2050: A Partnership for Progress (NA2050) in March 2012. NA2050 participants committed to policies that move their jurisdictions toward a low carbon economy while creating jobs, enhancing energy security, protecting public health and the environment, and demonstrating climate leadership. NA2050 was a multi-state, multi-regional collaborative working toward mitigating the impacts of climate change and advancing clean energy, carbon capture and sequestration, and industrial energy efficiency benchmarking. C2ES served as one of five nonprofit advisory groups for the NA2050 partnership. As of 2014, NA2050 is no longer active.

History: NA2050 was 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 was composed of six working groups, which collectively facilitated dialogue among governments, private sector entities, NGOs, and academic institutions. Each working group provided topical support to participating jurisdictions based on members’ priorities. C2ES was lead advisor to the Industry 2050 Working Group and the Sequestration Working Group.

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Western Climate Initiative, Inc.

Summary: The Western Climate Initiative (WCI) is a collaboration of jurisdictions working together to identify, evaluate, and implement emission-trading programs to mitigate the impacts of climate change at a sub-national level. Current WCI members are British Columbia, California and Quebec.

In November 2011, WCI transitioned into WCI, Inc., a nonprofit corporation that provides administrative and technical assistance to support the implementation of state and provincial greenhouse gas emission trading programs. Under the auspices of WCI Inc., California and Quebec linked their cap-and-trade programs on Jan. 1, 2014. WCI, Inc. manages the Compliance Instrument Tracking Service System, administers allowance auctions, conducts independent market monitoring of allowance auctions, and certifies allowance and offset certificate trade transactions.

History: On Feb. 26, 2007, Govs. 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 greenhouse gas 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 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 help meet this target. 

The WCI was built on the efforts of individual participating states and provinces, as well as two  regional predecessors: the Southwest Climate Change Initiative of 2006, made up of Arizona and New Mexico, and the West Coast Governors' Global Warming Initiative of 2004 made up of California, Oregon, and Washington. In August 2007, the Western Climate Initiative announced its regional, economy-wide greenhouse gas emissions target of 15 percent below 2005 levels by 2020, or approximately 33 percent below projected 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. Emissions covered are the six primary greenhouse gases identified by the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UFDCCC): 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 was designed 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 greenhouse gas emissions, stimulate development of clean-energy technologies, create green jobs, increase energy security, and protect public health. It is a plan to reduce regional greenhouse gas 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 2013, WCI is made up of British Columbia, California, and Quebec. The remaining jurisdictions that originally signed on to WCI are no longer participating.  

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Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative 

Summary: The Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) is the first mandatory U.S. cap-and-trade program for carbon dioxide. Currently, the program is composed of Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, Rhode Island, and Vermont. RGGI sets a cap on carbon dioxide emissions from power plants throughout the region, and allows regulated entities to trade carbon emission allowances to achieve compliance.

Between 2009 and 2013, carbon emissions from power plants in the RGGI region decreased by 45 percent as a result of fuel switching to natural gas, increased use of renewable energy, and a reduction in regional energy consumption. Following a comprehensive Program Review, RGGI adjusted the program cap to achieve an annual 2.5 percent emissions reduction each year between 2014 and 2020. A study released in November 2011 shows that RGGI has resulted in net economic benefit of $1.6 billion to participating states due to increased energy efficiency and other factors.

History: On Dec. 20, 2005, the governors of seven Northeast 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 Jan. 18, 2007, Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick signed the RGGI MOU, thereby committing his state to join RGGI. On Jan. 30, Gov. Donald Carcieri announced that Rhode Island would join RGGI. On April 6, 2006, Maryland Gov. 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 Gov. 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. 

Following New Jersey’s withdrawal, RGGI announced its plan to lower the regional cap from 165 short tons of CO2 in 2013, to 91 million short tons in 2014, decreasing annually by 2.5 percent. For more information, please see our RGGI page.

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Pacific Coast Collaborative


Established in 2008, the Pacific Coast Collaborative (PCC) is a cooperative agreement among the leaders of Alaska, British Columbia, California, Oregon, and Washington to leverage clean energy innovation and low-carbon development to reduce the effects of climate change on the regional economy. Together, the PCC jurisdictions are comprised of 53 million residents, with a total GDP of $2.8 trillion, which is equal to the 5th largest economy in the world (France). Through the PCC, leaders from participating jurisdictions can coordinate, propose, and adopt policy frameworks aimed at generating investments in renewable energy, climate resilience, low-carbon transportation infrastructure, and environmental conservation. Unlike its larger regional counterparts such as the Midwestern Governors Association, the PCC is focused singularly on low-carbon development, while also emphasizing coordination of state-level climate policies that can achieve the broader goals presented in PCC agreements.


The PCC was established on June 30, 2008, to strategically confront the economic risks climate change poses to the Pacific Coast region. The original agreement signaled a commitment by each jurisdiction to deploy more renewable energy and to promote environmental and coastal conservation. On Feb. 12, 2010, the PCC issued Vision 2030, which outlines the group’s effort to lead North America in clean energy innovation, climate adaptation, and sustainable infrastructure. The plan was centered on increased deployment of solar, wind, geothermal, hydro, and tidal energy, as well as projects geared toward widespread adoption of energy-efficient technology. It also introduced a plan to develop high-speed rail infrastructure between San Diego and Vancouver, as well as fuel-efficiency benchmarks and permitting standards for vehicles. Lastly, the plan identifies climate adaptation as a central element to ensuring economic stability by calling for cooperative efforts to research and develop long-term adaptation strategies. On Nov. 14, 2012, the PCC announced a joint effort to facilitate investments in sustainable infrastructure projects with $1 trillion in project loan financing through the West Coast Infrastructure Exchange

On Oct. 18, 2013, the group signed the Pacific Coast Action Plan on Climate and Energy, a nonbinding agreement to align climate regulations and market-based measures in each jurisdiction. The plan presents a number of policies to promote clean energy deployment, carbon pricing, revised regional greenhouse gas reduction targets for 2030, and low-carbon transportation. Several provisions highlight the need for regional cooperation to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, such as those supportive of a high-speed regional rail line along the Pacific Coast, and an integrated electrical smart-grid to support increased renewable generation. Finally, the plan calls for a harmonized approach to U.S. and international climate negotiations, and each jurisdiction has agreed to participate in a subnational coalition to secure a broader climate agreement at Conference of Parties to the UNFCCC in Paris in 2015.

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Midwest Greenhouse Gas Reduction Accord

Summary: The Midwest Greenhouse Gas Reduction Accord (MGGRA) was a commitment launched in 2007 by the governors of six Midwest states and the premier of one Canadian province to reduce greenhouse gas emissions through a regional cap-and-trade program and other complementary measures. Members of MGGRA are not currently pursuing their greenhouse gas goals through the Accord. 

History: On Nov. 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 Nov. 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 greenhouse gas goals through the Accord.

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Transportation and Climate Initiative 

Summary: The Transportation Climate Initiative (TCI) is a collaboration of 12 Northeast and Mid-Atlantic jurisdictions  to develop a clean energy economy and reduce greenhouse gas 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 is made up of Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, and the District of Columbia. Transportation currently accounts for roughly 40 percent of greenhouse gas emissions in the U.S. Mid-Atlantic and Northeast. 

History: On June 16, 2010, eleven Mid-Atlantic and Northeast states and the District of Columbia announced a Declaration of Intent for the TCI. The jurisdictions 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 Oct. 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, reduce the area’s dependence on oil, and reduce emissions of greenhouse gases and other pollutants. The 11 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. 

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