States Blaze the Trail to a Clean Energy Future

While Capitol Hill suffers partisan paralysis, states are stepping up to promote economic and job growth, energy independence and cleaner air.  

And why not?  Leadership on clean energy and climate change has multiple benefits, from creating jobs, to lowering monthly utility bills, to stimulating a thriving green economy, to name a few.

Take the Western Climate Initiative (WCI), a bipartisan partnership of seven U.S. states and four Canadian provinces.  These partners are collaborating on a regional approach to clean energy and climate change.  The WCI outlined its plan today, which is estimated to save the region about $100 billion (U.S. dollars) between 2012 and 2020. 

California, a founding member of the WCI, has proven that leadership pays, whether it’s the $56 billion it has saved since passing groundbreaking energy efficiency standards in the mid ‘70s or the $9 billion in clean energy venture capital that has been invested in the state over the last few years.

Many states have followed California’s lead and this leadership is blazing the trail to our national and global clean energy future.  Last week, the Center for Climate Strategies unveiled a report showing that if 23 of the leading policies being implemented in states were taken national, the U.S. could reduce its carbon pollution to 27% below 1990 levels by 2020, far surpassing President Obama’s short-term commitment of 17% below 2005 levels by 2020.  

Ultimately, it is national and international action that will unleash the greatest benefits of clean energy, pivot our nation and world away from dangerous fossil fuel dependence, and create long-term and sustainble economic growth.  In the meantime, states and regions are taking critical steps to pave the way so their local communities can reap the benefits.

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