For years, U.S. states and regions have been addressing climate change in the absence of stronger federal action. A wide range of policies have been adopted at the state and regional levels to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, develop clean energy resources, promote alternative fuel vehicles, and promote more energy-efficient buildings and appliances, among other things. Although climate change ultimately requires an effective national and international response, the actions taken by states and regions play a vital role by developing and testing innovative solutions, delivering near-term emission reductions, and laying the groundwork for broader action.
Twenty-two states plus the District of Columbia have adopted specific greenhouse gas emissions targets. While each state has adopted a target and baseline year that suits its circumstances, the prevalence of these targets shows the widespread support for climate action.
Many other state policies not directly linked to greenhouse gas targets also help reduce emissions. Such policies exist in every state in the nation.