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
Statement of Eileen Claussen
President, Center for Climate and Energy Solutions
January 24, 2012
We share President Obama’s enthusiasm for homegrown solutions to America’s energy challenges. Without question, America has the resources and know-how to produce more energy at home, strengthening both our economy and our national security. But protecting the climate also has to be part of the equation. If we sensitively develop domestic reserves, get serious about ramping up new energy sources, and push efficiency across the board, we can both meet America’s energy needs and dramatically shrink our carbon footprint.
Even if comprehensive legislation remains off the table for now, we can make important progress tackling these challenges piece by piece. C2ES is working with policymakers and stakeholders on ways to expand enhanced oil recovery using captured carbon dioxide – an approach that can boost domestic oil production while reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Similarly, we’re working with automakers, environmentalists and others on a plan for integrating plug-in electric vehicles into the U.S. electrical grid. We look forward to sharing the results of these and other C2ES initiatives aimed at practical solutions to our twin climate and energy challenges.
Contact: Tom Steinfeldt, 703-516-4146
Read the full transcript of the 2012 State of the Union Address
The Center for Climate and Energy Solutions (C2ES) was named the world’s top environmental think tank in a global survey of top public policy research institutes.
The University of Pennsylvania’s 2011 Global Go-To Think Tank Rankings are based on a survey of more than 1,500 policymakers, scholars, journalists, think-tank executives and others worldwide. The survey assessed more than 5,300 organizations nominated in 30 categories to create a global list of top think tanks by region and policy area.
C2ES’s predecessor organization, the Pew Center on Global Climate Change, was named the world’s top environmental think tank in the same survey in 2009. The center began operating as C2ES in November 2011, and is listed in the new survey under its former name.
“While our name has changed, we remain as committed as ever to fact-based analysis and common-sense solutions to our climate and energy challenges,” said C2ES President Eileen Claussen. “We are thrilled to again be recognized as the world’s top environmental think tank. I’d like to commend the C2ES staff and thank all of our partners and supporters in the United States and abroad for helping to make this possible.”
The independent, nonpartisan center provides impartial information and analysis on energy and climate challenges; convenes policymakers and stakeholders to work toward consensus solutions; works with members of its Business Environmental Leadership Council and others to promote on-the-ground action; and promotes pragmatic, effective climate and energy policies at the state, national and international levels.
The annual survey, first published in 2007, is directed by James G. McGann, assistant director of the University of Pennsylvania’s International Relations Program and director of the Think Tanks and Civil Society Program.
The World Resources Institute and Chatham House ranked second and third, respectively, among the study’s top 30 environmental groups. Brookings Institution was named the top overall think tank. Additional categories in which the report ranks organizations include health policy, international development, and security and international affairs, among others.
The complete study, released in January 2012, is available online here.
More about C2ES's work to advance climate and energy solutions can be found here.
Yesterday, EPA announced the public release of reported greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from large facilities across the country. Under legislation signed by President George W. Bush, most large sources of GHG emissions, including refineries, power plants, chemical plants, car manufacturers, and factories emitting more than 25,000 tons of CO2 equivalent a year, have been reporting their annual emissions electronically to EPA since 2010, while small sources are specifically exempted from the rule. Now, in accordance with the law, EPA is making that data public.
Some similar information was public already. Power plants have been required to report their CO2 emissions since the 1990 Clean Air Act Amendments, while many other companies have voluntarily reported their emissions through programs like the Carbon Disclosure Project
On December 22, 2011, the Maryland Public Service Commission (Order No. 84569) ordered the expansion of utilities’ energy efficiency and demand response programs for the second phase (2012-2014) of the EmPOWER Maryland Energy Efficiency Act of 2008. The EmPOWER Maryland Act targets a 15 percent reduction in the state’s per capita electricity consumption and a 15 percent reduction in peak electricity by 2015 (using a 2007 baseline). Utilities are responsible for achieving two-thirds of the reduction targets, and each utility has been required to file an energy savings and demand reduction plan. To date, “EmPOWER Maryland” programs have created 800,000 MWh in annual electricity savings, saved $100 million in annual energy costs, and provided electricity bill rebates to over 250,000 Maryland residents and businesses looking to increase energy efficiency.
Under EmPOWER Maryland, Maryland’s five major utilities are responsible for developing and implementing energy efficiency and demand response programs, which have included electricity bill rebates for energy efficiency investments, energy audits, and energy efficiency services. While the Maryland Public Service Commission expressed concern that utilities’ programs will not meet 2015 goals, installation and participant levels have increased in recent quarters. The Public Service Commission also approved measures to expand existing programs through increased rebates for energy efficiency equipment for residences and businesses, increased rebates for residential energy makeovers, and statewide administration of limited income energy efficiency programs.
Malcolm Woolf, director of the Maryland Energy Administration, stated “we applaud the efforts of the utilities and the PSC in meeting the ambitious EmPOWER Maryland goals and we encourage all Marylanders to contact their utility today to make their home or business more energy efficient.” He also credited EmPOWER Maryland for lowering electricity prices and protecting electricity supply during the summer heat wave in 2011. Overall, the EmPOWER Maryland Act is considered one of the nation’s strongest programs to promote energy efficiency, and Maryland is one of the “top ten” states for energy efficiency according to the American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy (ACEEE).
Statement of Eileen Claussen
President, Center for Climate and Energy Solutions
January 11, 2012
We’ve seen before that what you measure, you can manage. Two decades ago, when EPA published the Toxics Release Inventory (TRI), the public, policymakers and business all got a better handle on toxic emissions across the U.S. and how to reduce them. We can expect similar results now that EPA is publishing greenhouse gas data from major emitters. Businesses shrinking their carbon footprints will have a metric credible with the public. Clean technology developers will know who and where their potential customers are. Policymakers will know better how to develop policies that reduce emissions while contributing to economic growth. Simply getting this data out is an important step in tackling climate change.
Click here for more on EPA’s Greenhouse Gas Reporting Rule.
Click here for a related blog post.
Contact: Tom Steinfeldt, 703-516-4146
For the second year in a row, unprecedented numbers of extreme weather events have occurred across the globe. However, more of 2011’s impacts occurred in the United States. From the drought in Texas to the floods in the Midwest and Northeast, this past year underscored the huge economic costs associated with extreme weather. While specific weather events are not solely caused by climate change, the risks of droughts, floods, extreme precipitation events, and heat waves are already climbing as a result of climate change. This year reminded us of our vulnerability to those events.
C2ES's December 2011 features updates from the 17th annual Conference of the Parties (COP17) in Durban, South Africa, policy options for a clean energy standard, a blog post on the landmark new fuel economy standards, and more.
On December 13, 2011, the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission unanimously approved new hydraulic fracturing chemical disclosure rules that will go into effect April 1, 2012. The nine-member Commission worked with industry and environmental groups on crafting the rules. Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper credited all of the parties involved, saying, “These new rules give Colorado the fairest and most transparent set of fracking regulations in the country and will likely serve as a model for other states.” Both industry and environmentalists have praise for the rule:
· Tisha Schuller, President & CEO of the Colorado Oil & Gas Association -“[W]e have gained a model process to bring together industry, environmental advocates, and regulators to ensure energy development continues in keeping with protecting the environmental resources of our state.”
· Michael Freeman, a staff attorney with Earthjustice, which represented environmental groups in negotiations - “Overall, we are pleased with the strength of this rule…While all sides made compromises in the rulemaking, the requirement for disclosure of all chemicals and concentrations in fracking fluids makes Colorado a leader in state disclosure policy.”
Hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking,” injects pressurized fluid underground to fracture rock layers to enable the extraction of fossil fuels. Fracking raises environmental, health, and safety concerns, but Colorado’s rule will address these issues with a comprehensive and industry-supported approach. Whereas some states only require certain fracking chemicals to be reported, Colorado will require companies to report all chemicals used in fracking and their concentrations. The rule, however, will not require reporting of how fracking chemicals are combined in the extractive process. Companies must make their reports on an independent public website, www.FracFocus.org, within sixty days of completing fracking activity. Trade secrets will remain protected by federal and state laws, but regulators and health care professionals may request confidential information about fracking processes, and companies must file an affidavit that their confidential information meets legal definitions. Overall, the rule reflects an on-going collaboration of state regulators, industry, and environmental groups and sets an increased standard for transparency.
On September 27, 2006, then Governor of California Arnold Schwarzenegger signed into law the Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006, or AB 32. The law seeks to fight climate change through a comprehensive program reducing GHG emissions from virtually all sources statewide. The Act requires the California Air Resources Board (CARB) to develop regulations and market mechanisms that will cut the state’s GHG emissions to 1990 levels by 2020—a 25% reduction statewide. AB 32 requires CARB to take a variety of actions aimed at reducing the state’s impact on the climate.
AB 32 authorizes CARB to use market mechanisms as part of its portfolio of carbon-cutting policies, and on December 17, 2010 CARB decided to pursue a cap-and-trade program. The Board formally adopted the proposed cap-and-trade rule on October 20, 2011. The program is scheduled to begin in 2012, though the compliance period does not begin until 2013. The program places a GHG limit that will decrease by two percent each year through 2015 and by three percent from 2015 through 2020. The cap-and-trade rules will first apply to some of the major emitters—utilities and large industrial plants. In 2015, the rules will apply to fuel distributors as well, eventually totaling 360 businesses throughout California. The market will begin with a distribution of free allowances to regulated businesses. The portion of emissions covered by these free allowances will vary by industry, but generally will account for approximately 90 percent of the business’s overall emissions and this percentage will decline over time. For any additional emissions, the business must purchase the necessary allowances at a quarterly auction or from an entity that has excess allowances. Offsets are also allowed for up to eight percent of a business’s compliance obligation. California’s cap and trade program is scheduled to link with programs in Ontario, British Columbia, Manitoba and Quebec through the Western Climate Initiative.
Main C2ES California Cap-and-Tade Page
California Cap-and-Trade Program Summary Table (pdf)
California Cap-and-Trade Home
California Cap-and-Trade Rule
Summary of California Cap-and-Trade Rule
Western Climate Initiative
C2ES Regional Initiatives Page
Association of Irritated Residents, et al. v. California Air Resources Board
In December 2010, a number of environmental justice associations, including the Association of Irritated Residents (AIR), challenged the California Air Resources Board’s (CARB) selection of a cap-and-trade program as a major element in reaching AB 32’s emission target . AIR’s lawsuit alleged that CARB violated key requirements of AB 32 and the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA). In March 2011, a Superior Court of California judge ruled that CARB had not sufficiently considered alternatives to a cap-and-trade program and had approved and implemented its plan before completing the necessary environmental impact review (EIR) in violation of CEQA. CARB was ordered to revise its analysis of cap-and-trade alternatives, but was found not be in violation of AB 32. In June 2011, a California Court of Appeal granted CARB a stay to continue implementation of its cap-and-trade program. After the March decision CARB further analyzed alternatives to cap-and-trade, and in December 2011 this revised analysis was accepted as sufficient to fulfill the trial court’s March order. This leaves CARB in the clear to continue implementation. However, AIR has pledged to appeal the March decision that cap-and-trade does not violate AB 32, claiming it does not provide the maximum feasible and cost-effective greenhouse gas reductions.
Other AB 32 Elements
Prepare a Scoping Plan
- CARB was required to prepare a scoping plan to achieve the “maximum technologically feasible and cost-effective” reductions in greenhouse gas emissions.
- In December 2008, the Air Resources Board approved a scoping plan that will achieve emission reductions through regulations, market mechanisms, and other actions geared toward the emissions of several economic sectors.
- AB 32 required CARB to determine 1990 greenhouse gas emissions levels to serve as the 2020 emissions reduction target.
- In December 2007, 427 million metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent (MMTCO2e) was established as the 1990 emissions level and 2020 reduction limit.
- California emitted 474 MMTCO2e in 2008 and would be projected to emit 507 MMTCO2e in the absence of AB 32.
- AB 32 mandated the reporting of greenhouse gas emissions throughout the state.
- In December 2007, the California Air Resources board adopted regulations requiring the state’s largest industrial sources to report and verify their emissions.
CARB Mandatory Greenhouse Gas Reporting Home Page
Early Action Measures
- AB 32 authorized the California Air Resources Board to identify discrete early action areas that could be enforced by 2010.
- In 2007, CARB identified nine early action areas and proposed regulations for motor vehicle fuels (through the low carbon fuel standard – see below), landfill methane capture, mobile air conditioning, semiconductors, the fuel efficiency of heavy-duty tractors, tire pressure, and high global warming potential (GWP) gases in consumer products.
CARB Early Action Items Home Page
Low Carbon Fuel Standard
- With the transportation sector accounting for 40 percent of the state’s greenhouse gas emissions and with petroleum-based fuels meeting 96 percent of transportation needs, Governor Schwarzenegger issued Executive Order S-01-07 on January 18, 2007, authorizing a Low Carbon Fuel Standard (LCFS).
- The LCFS calls for at least a 10 percent reduction in the carbon intensity of California’s transportation fuels by 2020.
- The LCFS was challenged in court and was blocked on December 29, 2011. CARB appealed the decision and is allowed to enforce the LCFS while the appeal is pending.
- Ensure voluntary early reductions receive appropriate credit.
- Establish an Environmental Justice Advisory Committee (EJAC) to advise CARB on implementing AB 32.
- Establish an Economic and Technology Advancement Advisory Committee (ETAAC) to make scientific and technical recommendations on greenhouse gas reduction measures.
The Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) has produced a total of $1.6 billion in economic value to the ten RGGI member states between 2009 and 2011, according to an Analysis Group report. By implementing a cap-and-trade program for electricity sector greenhouse gas emissions, RGGI reduced fossil fuel use for electricity and heating, keeping an extra $765 million in fuel expenditures within the region and creating 16,000 new “job years” in RGGI member states. "RGGI generates greater economic growth in every one of the 10 states that participate in RGGI than would occur without a carbon price," said Susan Tierney, a managing principal of the Analysis Group and a report co-author (ClimateWire story – November 15, 2011).
Since 2009, power plant owners have bought allowances at auction to cover their carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions. The proceeds of the sales have cumulatively equaled approximately $912 million, and RGGI states have invested this money into their local economies. The Analysis Group report lists energy efficiency measures, community-based renewable power projects, assistance to low-income customers, education and job training programs, and contributions to state general funds as the various recipients of the $912 million in revenue.
The report states that consumers will experience electricity bill increases in the short term. Over time, however, households, businesses, government users, and others will enjoy a net gain of $1.1 billion between 2009 and 2021 due to investments in energy efficiency programs that reduce overall electricity consumption. Power plant owners are expected to lose $1.6 billion in revenue on a net present value basis between 2009 and 2021, and RGGI will afford a competitive advantage to power plants with lower emissions.
New Jersey, which in May 2011 announced its intention to leave RGGI by the end of the year, received approximately $118 million (around 13 percent) in proceeds from allowance sales and benefited from $151 million in economic value added between 2009 and 2011. Approximately $75 million was placed into the state’s general fund, while around $27 million was devoted to renewable energy investment.