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
 

Bob Perciasepe on the extension of California's cap and trade program

Statement of Bob Perciasepe
President, Center for Climate and Energy Solutions

July 18, 2017

On California’s vote to extend its cap-and-trade program:

California is showing the nation and the world how diverse interests can come together to promote cost-effective climate action.

Cap and trade gives businesses the flexibility to find the least-cost path to reduce emissions. This flexibility promotes innovation that creates new industries and jobs.

California has put hundreds of thousands of people to work in clean energy, while also cutting greenhouse gas emissions 10 percent from their peak in 2004. 

California's program is also specifically designed so that a significant portion of the revenue helps disadvantaged communities. A companion bill addresses community air quality concerns by increasing monitoring and imposing more stringent penalties on polluters. A guarantee that prices stay below a certain level ensures that Californians don’t pay more than their share for a safer climate while waiting for the rest of the country to catch up on policy action.

Particularly at a time of diminished federal leadership, California's program is a model for the rest of the country and the world. We applaud the governor and state lawmakers for their leadership.

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To reach a C2ES expert, contact Marty Niland at press@c2es.org.

About C2ES: The Center for Climate and Energy Solutions (C2ES) is an independent, nonpartisan, nonprofit organization working to forge practical solutions to climate change. Our mission is to advance strong policy and action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, promote clean energy, and strengthen resilience to climate impacts. Learn more at www.c2es.org.

Letter to Gov. Brown: We support extending cap and trade

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The Honorable Jerry Brown Governor of California

State Capitol, Suite 1173 Sacramento, CA, 95814

 

The Honorable Kevin De León Senate President Pro Tempore

California State Senate, Room 205, Sacramento, CA 95814

 

The Honorable Anthony Rendon Assembly Speaker California State Assembly,

Room 219, Sacramento, CA 95814

 

RE: C2ES supports extending CA's cap-and-trade program and AB-398


Dear Governor Brown, President Pro Tempore de León, and Speaker Rendon:

As a climate focused think-tank, C2ES has a long history supporting market-based policies to address climate change. We congratulate you on the introduction of AB-398, which extends California’s precedent-setting cap-and-trade program. We believe this bill, along with the companion bill AB-617, demonstrate  how to address both the climate challenge beyond 2020 and local air quality concerns.

California's steadfast determination to address climate change is a model for the country, as is its well-designed cap-and-trade program. Cap and trade ensures that the state's aggressive goals are met cost effectively. Failure to extend the program would send a signal across the U.S. and globally that this type of program does not work, which would be false.

Cap and trade ensures that the state’s aggressive reduction target will be met. It also provides an incentive to invest in low-carbon technology, drives innovation, creates jobs and generates revenue. How to use any revenue is always contentious, but AB-398 lays out options that will help reduce greenhouse gas emissions and other types of pollution and ensure that vulnerable populations are protected.  

California has demonstrated that an economy-wide cap-and-trade program can work. You are once again showing the world how progress toward a low-carbon future is possible. We strongly support a yes vote on this bill.

Respectfully,

Bob Perciasepe

President

CC: Assembly Member Eduardo Garcia Nancy McFadden, Office of the Governor Dan Reeves, Office of President Pro Tempore de León Carrie Cornwell, Office of Speaker Rendon Mary Nichols, California ARB 

Strengthening Energy Efficiency Programs for Low-Income Communities

Strengthening Energy Efficiency Programs for Low-Income Communities

July 2017

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Energy efficiency programs offer an effective way to reduce energy consumption and address energy burden. These programs are particularly beneficial to low-income households, which spend a higher percentage of their income on energy bills. There are many energy efficiency programs offered by states, cities, and utility companies, but often only a subset of these programs is specifically designed for and directly benefits low-income communities. This fact sheet provides an overview of how energy efficiency programs could benefit low-income communities, and how to design efficiency programs to better serve low-income communities.

Jason Ye
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America’s Pledge can drive and tally U.S. climate action

Today, Gov. Jerry Brown and Michael Bloomberg are launching America’s Pledge—an initiative to compile and quantify the actions of U.S. states, cities and businesses to drive down their greenhouse gas emissions consistent with the goals of the Paris Agreement.

America’s Pledge will for the first time aggregate and quantify the commitments of these “non-state actors,” demonstrating to the international community that U.S. climate resolve remains strong despite President Trump’s decision to withdraw from Paris.

The ambitious initiative also will provide a roadmap for increased ambition, outlining steps these groups can take to further reduce their emissions.

Since the president’s announcement, an unprecedented number of U.S. states, cities, and businesses have affirmed their support for the landmark climate deal, including through the “We Are Still In” declaration signed by more than 1,500 businesses, nearly 200 cities and counties, nine states, and over 300 universities. 

This enthusiasm for climate action is as yet unquantified, but it’s vast and varied and growing every day:

  • Just this week, California Gov. Jerry Brown and legislative leaders released a plan to extend through 2030 California’s cap-and-trade program. The program marshals market forces to motivate investment in low-carbon solutions, drive innovation, create jobs, and cut emissions cost-effectively.
  • Also this week, Colorado announced it will be the 14th state in the newly formed U.S. Climate Alliance, whose members together represent over a third of the U.S. population and GDP. The states are committed to the U.S. meeting its Paris target of reducing emissions 26 to 28 percent from 2005 levels by 2025.
  • More than 350 Climate Mayors have adopted the Paris Agreement goals for their cities. And more than 100 U.S. cities both large and small have pledged to transition their communities to 100% clean energy.
  • About two-thirds or more of mayors who responded to a recent survey by C2ES and The U.S. Conference of Mayors said they generate or buy renewable electricity to power city buildings or operations, buy green vehicles for municipal fleets, and have energy efficiency policies for municipal buildings. And they want to partner with the private sector do more.

Webinar - Financing Clean Infrastructure: Private Activity Bonds

Promoted in Energy Efficiency section: 
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Noon-1 p.m. EDTRSVP Here

Financing Clean Infrastructure: Private Activity Bonds

July 24, 2017, Noon - 1 p.m. EDT


States and cities have many tools to encourage private investment in clean infrastructure that reduces carbon emissions. Recently, policymakers have focused on expanding the use of private activity bonds (PABs). During this webinar, panelists will discuss how PABs were used successfully to build the Denver Eagle commuter rail project, and how they could facilitate private investment in carbon capture projects. After the presentations, we will have an interactive discussion on the outlook for investment in clean infrastructure in 2017.

RSVP Here

 

 

Panelists:  

 

 


Jeff Brown
Research Fellow, Stanford Steyer-Taylor Center

Jeff Brown is a lecturer at Stanford’s Law and Business Schools for the joint Law School/Business School course “Clean Energy Project Development and Finance”, co-taught with Dan Reicher and fellow lecturer Dave Rogers. Mr. Brown was named a research fellow at the Steyer-Taylor Center for Energy Policy and Finance in June 2016. He is researching the interactions of federal energy and environmental regulation, state and ISO power markets regimes, and federal clean energy grants and tax incentives upon the financial feasibility of projects to decarbonize the power and industrial sectors.

 


Marla Lien
Partner, Kaplan Kirsch & Rockwell

 

Marla Lien was the General Counsel for the Regional Transportation District (RTD from 2005 through 2016), having served as Associate General Counsel from 1990 through 2005 and then as General Counsel. Marla's current practice focuses on project development including rail and property acquisition. Her experience encompasses the FasTracks Program including the University of Colorado A Line, U.S. 36 BRTD, and other commuter and light rail lines in Denver, as well as the Denver Union Station redevelopment, where she negotiated and drafted contracts with the U.S. DOT, the City and County of Denver, the Denver Union Station Project Authority, and the master developer. 

Patrick Orth
Office of Sen. Rob Portman (R-OH)

 

Patrick Orth advises U.S. Sen. Rob Portman (R-OH) on all environmental, energy and agriculture issues. Prior to joining Sen. Portman’s office, Mr. Orth was the director of federal affairs for America’s Natural Gas Alliance (ANGA), where he worked closely with Congress to advance ANGA’s mission. Before joining ANGA, He served as U.S. Rep. Bill Johnson’s (R-OH) Legislative Director from 2011 – 2015, covering energy & environment issues while also managing the congressman’s legislative team. From 2009 to 2011, Mr. Orth served as manager of corporate relations at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, focusing on member development. 

Fatima Maria Ahmad
Solutions Fellow, C2ES

 

Fatima Maria Ahmad co-leads the National Enhanced Oil Recovery Initiative with the Great Plains Institute. Ms. Ahmad focuses on financing opportunities and policy development for energy technologies, including carbon capture, use, and storage (CCUS). Prior to joining C2ES, Ms. Ahmad was a Special Assistant to the Assistant Secretary for Fish & Wildlife & Parks at the U.S. Department of the Interior (DOI), where she helped DOI license 10,000 MW of wind, solar, and geothermal energy. Ms. Ahmad also has volunteer experience with the development of offshore wind in the United States. 

 

 

 

 

Good and bad options for changing California’s cap-and-trade program

California has been an environmental leader for decades, but still numerous cities in the state struggle with air quality. As state lawmakers debate the future of the cap-and-trade program to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, can they also find ways to reduce other air pollutants -- like ozone and particulate matter -- that make people sick?

The answer is yes. But some options are better than others.

Analysis of California’s climate policy shows that big cuts are needed to meet the state’s 2030 greenhouse gas reduction goal – and these cuts to carbon emissions will probably reduce other pollutants as well. By modifying the cap-and-trade program, California can improve the likelihood that criteria air pollutants get cut, too. Some of these options would reduce the flexibility businesses now have to comply with the program. This includes the ability to trade allowances, bank (save allowances for future years if you don’t need them now), and use offsets (verified reductions that happen at approved projects in California or elsewhere; the state sets strict rules on what counts as an offset).

The problem with eliminating these compliance options is that the program would lose elements that provide cost containment. In other words, it would likely get more expensive overall to achieve the same greenhouse gas reductions.

For example, eliminating the ability to bank allowances might backfire. Since the program is oversupplied right now (that is, there are more allowances available than emissions), banking is one of the main drivers of allowance demand and prices. If that option goes away, businesses will lose a big price signal to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and emissions might increase in the near-term.

Another option is to add regulations on top of the cap-and-trade program. The state could regulate greenhouse gas emissions from refineries, which are also a large source of criteria air pollutants. The state could also enhance existing regulations for those other pollutants. It’s hard to predict how much pollution reduction either of these options would deliver compared to extending the cap-and-trade program as is, but they would at least increase certainty about criteria air pollution (though they might miss a big source of these emissions in the form of cars and trucks).

Alliance for a Sustainable Future Sustainability Questionnaire: Preliminary Results

Alliance for a Sustainbe Future
Sustainability Questionnaire:
Preliminary Results

June 2017

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The Alliance for a Sustainable Future is a collaborative effort between The U.S. Conference of Mayors and the Center for Climate and Energy Solutions. The Alliance is made up of Mayors and businesses who are interested in working together to develop climate solutions and create more sustainable communities. 
 
The Alliance is chaired by Santa Fe Mayor Javier Gonzales along with Vice-Chair Salt Lake City Mayor Jackie Biskupski. As part of the Alliance’s ongoing work plan, mayors across the county were surveyed on their city’s sustainability efforts in the areas of low-carbon transportation, renewable electricity, and energy efficiency in new and existing buildings. The goal of the ongoing questionnaire is to develop a baseline of city efforts, determine innovative practices in these areas, identify trends, and define areas where additional technical assistance may be needed. 
 
The questionnaire was originally emailed on May 17, 2017 to approximately 80 Mayors who serve in leadership roles for The U.S. Conference of Mayors. However, when the United States announced its intention to pull out of the Paris Climate Accord on June 1, the questionnaire was emailed to all members of the Conference of Mayors as well as all cities with populations of 30,000 or more, approximately 1,400 cities. Data was collected until June 15. The questionnaire remains open to allow more cities to respond. The Alliance will publish a follow-on report with these additional data later this year. 
 
Responding cities represent a broad geography and range in size from 21,000 (Pleasantville, NJ) to 8.5 million, (New York City). Together, represent nearly 32 million Americans. 
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Survey finds US mayors taking action on climate protection, and planning for more

For Immediate Release
Saturday, June 24, 2017

Contacts:
Laura Rehrmann 703-516-0621, press@c2es.org
Elena Temple Webb 202-286-1100, etemple@usmayors.org
 

Survey finds U.S. mayors taking action on climate protection, and planning for more


Cities are promoting renewable electricity, low-carbon transportation, and energy efficiency to reduce emissions

MIAMI BEACH, FL – Cities across the country are showing leadership in promoting renewable electricity, low-carbon transportation, and energy efficiency, according to preliminary results of a survey jointly conducted by The U.S. Conference of Mayors (USCM) and the Center for Climate and Energy Solutions (C2ES). The two organizations have partnered to form the Alliance for a Sustainable Future.

The survey also found overwhelming interest by cities in collaborating with the private sector to accelerate climate efforts, and identified several opportunities to do so.

Among the key findings:

  • 69 percent of responding cities generate or purchase renewable electricity to power city buildings or operations. An additional 22 percent are considering doing so.
  • 63 percent already buy green vehicles, including hybrid, electric, natural gas, and biodiesel, for their municipal fleets. 30 percent are considering it.
  • 71 percent have energy efficiency policies for new municipal buildings, and 66 percent have them for existing municipal buildings.

Responses to the survey have come from 66 cities, ranging in size from 21,000 to 8.5 million residents across 30 states. These cities spend more than $1.2 billion annually in electricity, representing significant purchasing power that can help shape the market.

The survey, which will be open through the summer, marks the launch by USCM and C2ES of an ongoing effort to collect information on progress cities are making in response to climate change, identify innovative solutions, and share them with mayors nationwide. Examples will include opportunities for public-private partnerships to help cities achieve their emissions-cutting goals not only within their own municipal operations and facilities but also community-wide.

The survey shows overwhelming interest by cities in working with one another (90 percent) and with the private sector (87 percent) to accelerate climate action, a finding that takes on even more importance following President Trump’s decision to pull the U.S. out of the Paris Climate Agreement—an agreement both organizations strongly supported.

The survey found opportunities for greater collaboration. For example:

  • Roughly half of responding cities are incentivizing energy efficiency in new and existing commercial and residential buildings.
  • Less than half have policies or programs that help citizens and businesses choose renewable electricity options.
  • 66 percent of responding cities have public charging stations, while 36 percent are facilitating private infrastructure for electric vehicles.

Read more about the alliance and a summary of survey results to date here.

“Cities and companies are making progress, but more can and must be done. Cities small and large across the country see the benefits of improving energy efficiency and deploying more clean energy and transportation,” said Santa Fe Mayor Javier Gonzales, chairman of the alliance steering committee. “But we need to create a baseline so we can measure our ongoing progress. Sustainability is a smart strategy for the future, and cities and companies need to learn from one another.”

“The nation’s mayors are poised to take an even greater leadership role in fighting climate change and protecting cities from its negative impacts. Working together with the business community, we can achieve deeper results more quickly and more broadly,” said Tom Cochran, CEO and Executive Director of The U.S. Conference of Mayors.

“Cities and companies both realize the risks of climate impacts and the economic opportunities of climate solutions. By partnering, they can keep the U.S. heading in the right direction toward a sustainable future,” said C2ES President Bob Perciasepe.

The USCM-C2ES alliance, which launched last summer, creates a framework for mayors and business leaders to develop concrete approaches to reduce carbon emissions, speed deployment of new technology, implement sustainable development strategies, and respond to the growing impacts of climate change. Santa Fe Mayor Javier Gonzales leads the public-private steering committee, with Salt Lake City Mayor Jackie Biskupski as vice chair. JPMorgan Chase & Co., Duke Energy, and AECOM are founding co-sponsors.

“Across America, cities are facing different climate threats and they’re deploying new clean technologies to mitigate against them and seize economic opportunities. What many cities share is a dedication to lean forward and drive innovation. AECOM is proud to be working with mayors on building a sustainable and resilient future," said Josh Sawislak, Global Director of Resilience at AECOM.

The Alliance for a Sustainable Future will discuss the survey results and showcase sustainability innovation Saturday, June 24, in Miami Beach at The U.S. Conference of Mayors 85th annual conference. Details are below.

Date: Saturday, June 24, 7:30- 9:00 a.m.

Place: Rooms Splash 9/10, Upper Lobby Level, The Fontainebleau Hotel, Miami Beach, FL

Speakers will include: Santa Fe Mayor Javier Gonzales, AECOM Global Director of Resilience Josh Sawislak, Duke Energy Managing Director of Environmental and Energy Policy Kevin Leahy, Des Moines Mayor Frank Cownie, Boston Mayor Martin J. Walsh, Dubuque (IA) Mayor Roy Buol, Denton (TX) Mayor Chris Watts, Austin Mayor Steve Adler.

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About The U.S. Conference of Mayors: The U.S. Conference of Mayors is the official nonpartisan organization of cities with populations of 30,000 or more. There are nearly 1,400 such cities in the country today, and each city is represented in the Conference by its chief elected official, the mayor. Learn more at www.usmayors.org.

About C2ES: The Center for Climate and Energy Solutions (C2ES) is an independent, nonpartisan, nonprofit organization working to forge practical solutions to climate change. Our mission is to advance strong policy and action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, promote clean energy, and strengthen resilience to climate impacts. Learn more at www.c2es.org.

State Carbon Pricing Policies



                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Last updated in July 2017

Compared to command-and-control regulations, carbon pricing is a market-based mechanism that creates financial incentives to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, making the reductions cost effective.

Eleven states that are home to over a quarter of the U.S. population already have a price on carbon and are successfully reducing emissions. Those states are California, the nine Northeast states, in the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI), and Washington state, with its Clean Air Rule in effect in 2017. California’s cap and trade system and Washington’s Clean Air Rule are aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions from multiple sectors of the economy, while RGGI is aimed at reducing carbon emissions only from the power sector.

 

Action on VW settlement heating up as summer approaches

Summer is around the corner, bringing barbeques, warm weather, and road trips. U.S. residents may benefit from Volkswagen (VW) funding for those last two items (and Nissan bravely experimented with the barbeque): reducing air pollutants that cause harmful health effects in warm weather through a Mitigation Trust, and extending electric vehicles’ (EVs) driving range through a series of charging infrastructure investments. Both programs are set to take effect shortly, and cities and businesses may benefit from early action.

As a quick reminder, VW is putting $4.7 billion in two separate funds for mitigating nitrogen oxides (NOx) emissions and investing in zero-emission vehicles as part of a settlement for installing devices designed to bypass U.S. auto emissions tests. (The two funds are shown below and described in greater detail in this blog post.)

Mitigation Trust to Reduce NOx emissions from heavy-duty vehicles

The Mitigation Trust will allocate funding to each state to spend on reducing the NOx emissions that were created by the altered VW vehicles. The funding will be disbursed within the state by one lead agency that must be approved by an appointed trustee. The trustee, investment firm Wilmington Trust, was selected in March. Once all parties confirm Wilmington Trust, which could happen any day, the Trust Effective Date will be established. The Trust Effective Date is essentially the “starter’s pistol” that will set the process of distributing Mitigation Trust funds to states in motion. The general timeline for applying for and receiving funds is shown below, though several deadlines are flexible and may proceed more quickly than the maximum amount of time allocated.

 

Cities and businesses should contact and work actively with the lead agencies in their states to identify and promote opportunities to replace older diesel engines and vehicles. Several states have already identified their lead agencies or principal contacts and are beginning to design plans for how the available funding will be spent. Though funding can be spent over 15 years, as much as two-thirds can be spent within the first two years. Therefore, it is in the best interest of cities or businesses to engage with state agencies early.

ZEV Investment to Expand public EV charging

VW’s initial ZEV Investment is also ready to be put into action through a $200 million California Investment Plan and a $300 million National Investment Plan that covers all other states. VW submitted separate investment plans that cover the next 30 months earlier this year to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the California Air Resources Board (CARB). The EPA approved the National Investment Plan, which allocates $40 million to lower-powered community charging in 11 major cities and $190 million to higher-powered fast charging along selected highways across the nation. Community charging will be focused in New York City, Washington, DC, Chicago, Portland (OR), Boston, Seattle, Philadelphia, Denver, Houston, Miami, and Raleigh. Estimated highway charging installations are displayed in Table 3 of the National Investment Plan (page 22).

Though the cities and corridors have been chosen, the sites and vendors have not. The process of selecting sites and vendors for the bulk of charging stations is scheduled for the second and third quarters of 2017. Cities identified for investments in community charging or nearby corridor charging can work with VW’s subsidiary, Electrify America, to identify optimal locations that may promote retail growth or adoption by low-income communities in multi-unit dwellings by hosting charging stations. Businesses may also benefit from increased traffic to use public charging stations (as C2ES has covered in a report on EV charging station business models) or from the opportunity to work with Electrify America to install charging stations.

CARB has not yet approved the California Investment Plan out of concerns for social equity and EV charging market competitiveness, sending a letter to Electrify America requesting that a supplemental plan reflect greater investments in low-income communities. Once CARB approves a plan, California cities and businesses should also consider opportunities to work with Electrify America to optimally site charging stations during the first 30-month round of investments. During the next round of investments, slated to begin in late 2019, proposals to Electrify America may be more successful if they incorporate CARB’s concerns and demonstrate air-quality benefits to low-income communities or a need to fill regional EV charging gaps.

With action on both VW settlements’ funding programs taking shape, cities and businesses should be prepared to identify opportunities to reduce NOx emissions and promote EV adoption .

 

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