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.
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North America 2050
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.
Western Climate Initiative
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.
Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative
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.
Midwest Greenhouse Gas Reduction Accord
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.
Transportation and Climate Initiative
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.