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
Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s $20 billion plan to safeguard New York City against a future Hurricane Sandy and other climate risks is the most ambitious effort yet by any U.S. city to prepare for the expected impacts of climate change.
The mayor last week announced “A Stronger, More Resilient New York,” a comprehensive plan to protect communities and critical infrastructure, and proposed significant changes to New York’s building codes for new construction and major renovations that will help buildings withstand severe weather and flooding. Its 250 recommendations include building new infrastructure (like installing armor stone shoreline protection in Coney Island), changing how services are provided (like encouraging redundant internet infrastructure), and establishing standardized citywide communication protocols for use during disruptions.
These states have set standards specifying that electric utilities deliver a certain amount of electricity from renewable or alternative energy sources. Most of these requirements take the form of a "renewable portfolio standard" (RPS) or "alternative energy portfolio standard" (AEPS) which requires a certain percentage of a utility’s power plant capacity or generation to come from renewable or alternative energy sources by a given date. The standards range from modest to ambitious, and qualifying energy sources vary. Some states also include "carve-outs" (requirements that a certain percentage of the portfolio be generated from a specific energy source, such as solar power) or other incentives to encourage the development of particular resources. Although climate change may not be the prime motivation behind these standards, the use of renewable or alternative energy can deliver significant greenhouse gas reductions. Increasing a state’s use of renewable energy brings other benefits as well, including job creation, energy security, and cleaner air. While the first RPS was established in 1983, the majority of states passed or strengthened their standards after 2000. Consequently, while many of these efforts have increased the penetration of renewables; others have not been in effect long enough to do so. Many states allow utilities to comply with the RPS or AEPS through tradeable credits. While the success of state efforts to increase renewable or alternative energy production will depend in part on federal policies such as production tax credits, states have been effective in encouraging clean energy generation.
For more information on state renewable and alternative portfolio standards, please refer to our resources: Comparison of Qualifying Resources for Individual States’ RPS and AEPS and Detailed Table of State Policies (including RPS/AEPS targets, carve-outs, tiers, classes, incentives, hydropower definitions, and relevant authorities).
Please refer to our Renewable Energy Credit Tracking Systems map to see how credits verifying renewable energy generation can be tracked and traded across U.S. regions.
For more information on federal portfolio standards, please refer to our: CES Resource Page.
Some states coordinate their RPS or AEPS with an Energy Efficiency Resource Standard (EERS). Learn more about states with an EERS here.
Hurricane Sandy inflicted tremendous damage on New York’s coastal communities. The threat of more intense, more frequent storms driven by climate change has led Gov. Andrew Cuomo to propose limiting development in vulnerable locations. Just as Sandy provided a preview of future climate risks, the governor’s proposal may offer an example of one effective response.
The nine states in the northeast Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative took an important step this month that will significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions and increase funding for energy efficiency and clean energy without unduly burdening businesses or consumers. That step was to adjust their cap-and-trade program by tightening the emissions cap and increasing compliance flexibility for businesses.
Statement of Judi Greenwald
Vice President, Technology and Innovation
Center for Climate and Energy Solutions
February 7, 2013
“We applaud today’s plan by the nine states in the northeast Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative to adjust their cap-and-trade program by tightening the cap and increasing compliance flexibility for businesses. Combined, the adjustments would significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions and increase available funding for clean energy without unduly burdening businesses or consumers. C2ES believes that market-based policies are the most effective and efficient means of reducing greenhouse gas emissions, and we appreciate the continued leadership of the RGGI states.”
Contact: Laura Rehrmann, 703-516-0621, email@example.com
Despite some modest steps forward, the UN Climate Change Conference in Doha was a reminder of the slow-paced nature of international negotiations. Annual conferences like these aim to achieve international agreement on reducing the man-made emissions causing climate change, but 20 years after the launch of the U.N. climate process, global emissions continue to rise.
Progress is being made at the domestic level, however, and in many cases, the policy of choice is emissions trading. One of the major challenges going forward is linking these emerging trading systems to achieve the efficiencies of an integrated global greenhouse gas market. The European Union and Australia have announced plans to link their trading systems, and California and Quebec are working toward linking theirs.
California, a leader in efficiency and clean energy policies for decades, is about to embark on another pioneering climate change program.
November 14 marks the first auction in its cap-and-trade system, which uses a market-based mechanism to reduce the greenhouse gas emissions that are warming the planet.
On its own, California’s program will drive down harmful emissions in the ninth largest economy in the world. But perhaps more importantly, California’s example could guide and prod us toward national action against climate change.
Among Tuesday's election returns, voters in two states issued a split decision on ballot measures to boost clean energy. California approved a plan to fund clean energy jobs, but voters in Michigan defeated a plan to put a stronger clean energy standard for the state’s utilities into the state constitution.
Nov. 2, 2012
Contact: Laura Rehrmann, firstname.lastname@example.org, 703-516-0621
California Cap and Trade In Context
This month, California will launch its cap-and-trade program, which uses a market-based mechanism to reduce the greenhouse gas emissions responsible for climate change.
California's program will be second in size only to the European Union’s Emissions Trading System based on the amount of emissions covered. The program will drive emission cuts in the world’s ninth largest economy and provide critical experience in how an economy-wide cap-and-trade system can function in the U.S.
California marks the start of its program with an auction for carbon emissions allowances on Nov. 14.
The Center for Climate and Energy Solutions lays out the details of California’s cap and trade program, how it works, and how it compares with similar efforts in the U.S. and internationally.
California’s program is one example of efforts to move toward a low-carbon economy. C2ES experts can put California's efforts in context and discuss how states and nations are seeking solutions to the challenge of providing safe, affordable reliable energy while at the same time protecting the global climate.
Contact Senior Communications Manager Laura Rehrmann at email@example.com or 703-516-0621.
The Center for Climate and Energy Solutions (C2ES) is an independent nonprofit, nonpartisan 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. Learn more at www.c2es.org.