Climate Change: Action by States to Address Greenhouse Gas Emissions [December 4, 2008] [open pdf - 650KB]
"In the absence of a federal climate change program, a number of states have taken actions that directly address greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. States' efforts cover a wide range of policies. Although much of the early activity was largely symbolic, the more recent state actions have been more aggressive. Twenty-three states have joined one of the three regional partnerships that would require GHG (or just carbon dioxide) emission reductions. Set to take effect in 2009, the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) is a partnership of 10 Northeast and Mid-Atlantic states that creates a cap-and-trade system aimed at limiting carbon dioxide emissions from power plants. Seven western states (and four Canadian provinces) have formed the Western Climate Initiative, which set an economy-wide GHG emissions target of 15% below 2005 levels by 2020. In addition, six states (and one Canadian province) signed the Midwestern Greenhouse Gas Reduction Accord, which aims to establish a multi-sector, GHG cap-and-trade program in the Midwest. The latter two programs are still in the early development stages; RGGI is on schedule for 2009, and participating states have already held one emission allowance auction. California has addressed GHG emissions on several fronts. To complement its statewide emissions reduction regime, California established GHG performance standards that would effectively limit the use of coal-generated electricity in California. In 2004, California issued regulations to reduce greenhouse gases from motor vehicles. At least 16 other states have indicated they intend to follow California's new vehicle requirements. In addition, the state has also taken action to reduce the carbon intensity in its transportation fuels"
CRS Report for Congress, RL33812
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