The Center for Climate Strategies is a nonprofit that supplies technical and analytic services to states. This briefing was the first in a series co-sponsored by EESI and CCS. The second briefing provided a breakdown of policies in the agriculture, forestry, and waste management sectors. The third briefing examined energy efficiency strategies in the built environment. Details on future briefings will be posted at www.eesi.org/briefings as they become available.
On May 28, the Environmental and Energy Study Institute (EESI) and Center for Climate Strategies (CCS) held a briefing about state actions on climate and energy, and how they can inform the current Congressional debate on climate policy. Over the past six years, more than 30 states have begun to address climate change, primarily through mitigation measures aimed at reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and saving energy within their states. Some have considered adaptation measures to respond to impacts from climate change. More than 20 Governors have appointed Climate Commissions or Advisory Councils with broad representation to work through consensus approaches. This briefing featured representatives from states in the Southeast, Mid-Atlantic and Midwest, who shared their experiences about garnering support in their states, and offered their perspectives on how the federal government and states can best coordinate actions to provide effective climate and energy policies.
- A comprehensive national program to address climate change requires a strong partnership between state and federal governments.
- Many state and local governments already have climate action plans underway that provide strong lessons for federal policy. State and local governments also play a vital role in local transportation planning, tracking emission reductions, adaptation, energy efficiency, smart growth, agriculture, offsets, and outreach.
- States that developed climate action plans were also motivated by the desire to diversify their economies and address multiple economic and security issues at the same time.
- Many greenhouse gas (GHG) reduction policies in the transportation, land use, residential, commercial, industrial, agriculture, forestry, and waste management sectors reduce costs upfront for states – even before considering the economic benefit of mitigating climate change. Marginal cost information can be found in the plan summaries above.
- Maryland, Florida, and Michigan used a stakeholder-driven process to develop their climate action plans, leading to a unanimous or near unanimous consensus among government, industry, and environmental groups on the resulting policy recommendations.
- Maryland has moved aggressively over the past four years to address climate change through strong mitigation measures such as the Clean Cars Initiative and participation in the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI).
- Under RGGI, virtually 100 percent of Maryland’s emissions permits are auctioned. The state’s first three auctions generated $54 million in revenue, which was in part invested in energy efficiency programs that reduce energy use and costs for costumers.
- Florida now has a plan to reduce GHGs to 20 percent below 1990 levels by 2020 through increased wind, solar, and other renewables, a 10 percent ethanol requirement for transportation fuels, statewide building energy efficiency codes, and draft regulations for a state cap and trade program in the works. The plan will have a net savings of 53.5 billion gallons of petroleum, 200.2 million short tons of coal, and 6.4 billion cubic feet of natural gas.
- A macroeconomic study shows that Florida’s Climate Change Action Plan is a win-win situation. Between 2009 and 2025, the state projects a net gain of 148,000 jobs, a $38 billion increase in Gross State Product (in year 2000 dollars), and $28 billion net economic savings from energy efficiency.
- Michigan’s Executive Order 2007-42 created the Michigan Climate Action Council (MCAC). The 2009 MCAC Report recommended GHG reductions of 20 percent below 2005 by 2020 and 80 percent below 2025 levels by 2050.
- The MCAC Report also forecasted a net cumulative savings of $10 billion from 2009 to 2005 and recommends transforming and diversifying the energy, manufacturing, and transport sectors.
- Federal policy will play an important role in supporting state action plans through mechanisms such as cap and trade and vehicular emissions requirements, research and development, and funding.