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
 

State of the Art: Innovations in CO2 Capture and Use

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Hart Senate Office Building, Room 902

State of the Art: Innovations in CO2 Capture and Use

Imagine if the carbon dioxide that emerges from smokestacks at power and industrial plants could be put to a productive use.

U.S. companies are already investing in new technologies to capture and re-use carbon emissions in innovative ways, including jet fuel and automobile seats. Spurred by the NRG COSIA Carbon XPRIZE, researchers are exploring even more uses, such as transforming carbon emissions into algae biofuels and building materials. Other researchers are exploring ways to capture carbon directly from the atmosphere.

Join us at this free, public event where experts will provide an update on these breakthrough technologies, and lawmakers will discuss ways to speed up their deployment.

September 14, 2017

8:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.

Hart Senate Office Building, Room 902

 

Speakers

Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI)

Senator John Barrasso (R-WY)

Senator Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND)

Marcius Extravour, XPRIZE

Dr. Julio Friedman, Lawrence Livermore Laboratory

Bob Perciasepe, President, C2ES

Additional speakers will be added

New research highlights flood risks from sea-level rise

Recent scientific studies on the impacts of sea-level rise can help cities and businesses in coastal areas strengthen their climate resilience planning.  

Coastal flooding is expected to be a particularly costly climate impact. As the seas rise, U.S. cities from Miami to Atlantic City, New Jersey, now routinely deal with tidal flooding, also called nuisance flooding or sunny day flooding. But higher sea levels can also magnify flooding from more rare major storms like hurricanes.

Researchers at Princeton and Rutgers recently took into account the fact that coastal cities face this combination of small (high-probability) and large (low-probability) flooding events. They took observations from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) tide gauges and used statistical techniques to measure the occurrence of historically low- and high-probability events across coastal locations. They then used sea-level rise projections to understand how the frequency of low- and high-probability events would change at each location.

The key insight from this study is that sea-level rise will have a different impact on flooding patterns in different regions of the country. Charleston, South Carolina, will see a larger increase in moderate floods than in severe floods (though both types of floods will increase), while Seattle will see the opposite pattern.

The study also demonstrates that flood frequencies will increase dramatically in many coastal areas by 2050. The blue and green dots in the maps below show the places where flood frequencies will increase by hundreds or even thousands of times from today (Alaska and Hawaii were also modeled in the study, but not shown in this map. The full dataset is here).


Source: Princeton University, 2017.

It’s no wonder, then, that cities and businesses across the country are taking steps to prepare for flooding and other climate change risks. We continue to urge them to work together to find the options that work best for the community overall. 

A year after a devastating flood, lessons in building resilience

Nearly one year after a devastating flood in Ellicott City, Maryland, shoppers pass by reopened businesses and shuttered ones in the same block of historic Main Street.

Nearly a year after a devastating flood, business is bustling again along Main Street in Ellicott City, Maryland, but signs of the disaster remain. Just steps away from shops with flags flying and doors open are others with “space available” signs and boarded-up windows. Construction equipment sits at the corner.

Climate change is increasing the odds that communities across the United States will face similar risks. To withstand these disasters, communities must become more resilient, and a C2ES report offers ways for state and local governments to help.

On July 30, 2016, more than six inches of rain fell in two hours in a low-lying area in central Maryland bounded by two rivers. Water gushed down a historic Ellicott City street lined with antique shops, art galleries, boutiques, and restaurants. The flood damaged 90 businesses and caused more than $22 million in damages to infrastructure.

The economic damage didn’t stop there. The county where Ellicott City is located lost between $42 million and $67 million in economic activity and as much as $1.3 million in tax revenues because of the flood.

With the help of loans from the state and private donations, more than 90 percent of the damaged businesses have reopened, and some new ones are moving in.

The National Weather Service classified the storm as a thousand-year rainfall event – meaning that scientists using historic data calculate a one-in-a-thousand chance of an event like this occurring each year. But as the climate keeps changing, the odds of seeing extreme weather go up, increasing the risks to communities and businesses throughout the country.

Almost 40 percent of small businesses nationwide never reopen their doors following a disaster event. Those closings can have an especially big impact; small businesses account for more than half of U.S. sales and jobs.

Small business owners often are unaware of their climate risks and lack the time and resources to prepare for the impacts. Fewer than half of Maryland small businesses that replied to a C2ES survey said they knew about climate risks. Most said they lacked resources to learn about them, and that available resources do not directly address local risks most relevant to them.

But state and local governments in Maryland and elsewhere can help their small businesses become more climate-resilient by following the recommendations in C2ES’s framework for engagement.

When engaging with small businesses on weather and climate resilience, the C2ES framework recommends state and local officials:

1.    Use trusted messengers to convey climate information. These include organizations that small businesses frequently interact with, like city or county chambers of commerce, trade associations, and other business organizations.

2.    Leverage existing channels of communication. State agencies and local agencies often already interact with businesses on preparedness, emergency planning, flood management, long-term planning, and economic development. Climate resilience information can be incorporated into these interactions. Likewise, existing resilience efforts can be broadened to include the business community.

3.    Identify new opportunities. New programs and information can be developed on small business resilience, such as public-private partnerships and business resilience networks. Training materials and other resources can be distributed via trusted messengers.

4.    Distribute targeted information. Businesses need more information on what they can realistically do to become more resilient to extreme weather and climate change. Sector- and location-specific information can help businesses better understand their risks and opportunities for enhancing resilience. 

The extreme weather risk to communities like Ellicott City will only increase as the Earth’s atmosphere continues to warm from rising greenhouse gas emissions. But state and local governments have opportunities to open new channels of communication to help small businesses become more climate resilient and able to survive disasters.

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

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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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