Climate 411

4 ways California should strengthen its cap-and-trade program

This blog was co-authored by Mary Catherine Hanafee LaPlante, Intern, U.S. Climate Policy

As the hottest summer on record scorches the state, California leaders are working to tackle the impacts of climate change head-on by strengthening an essential tool in their climate policy toolbox: the state’s cap-and-trade program.

Last year, the California Air Resources Board (CARB) finalized its Scoping Plan for Achieving Carbon Neutrality which recognized the importance of accelerating action this decade to put the state on track to achieve net-zero emissions by 2045 as well as 85% reductions below the 1990 level. Specifically, the Scoping Plan highlights that California needs to exceed its near-term goal and achieve 48% reductions below 1990 by 2030.

To reach these critical goals, CARB is evaluating potential amendments to its cap-and-trade program. With two workshops on the books, CARB is already making significant strides towards fortifying the program.

Here are four key opportunities for the state to strengthen the cap-and-trade program:

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Posted in California, Carbon Markets, Cities and states, Economics, Energy, Greenhouse Gas Emissions, Health, Policy / Comments are closed

Leadership states can drive U.S. climate progress forward, if governors meet their commitments

This blog was co-authored by Alex DeGolia, Director, U.S. Climate.

With historic federal climate investments in law, states are now in the driver’s seat to leverage this funding to drive U.S. climate progress forward — adopting bold policies of their own that limit pollution, boost jobs and bring down energy costs.

States that have made climate commitments in line with U.S. goals under the Paris Agreement are in the best position to make a significant impact in cutting U.S. emissions. A new EDF report analyzes state emissions data from Rhodium and projected emission reductions from federal investments to determine how much closer these states could bring the country to its goals.

We find that leadership states could shrink the remaining gap to the U.S. national 2030 target by nearly half, if they adopt ambitious and comprehensive policies that achieve their own emissions targets.

To get there, governors and state leaders must shift policy action into high gear, as our analysis reveals these states are currently projected to collectively fall well short of their climate commitments.

The urgency — and the opportunity — for states to move from climate pledges to policy has never been greater. Here’s what you need to know about the analysis:

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Posted in California, Carbon Markets, Cities and states, Economics, Energy, Greenhouse Gas Emissions, Health, Policy / Read 1 Response

4 reasons why Colorado legislators should strengthen the state’s climate targets

Photo Credit: Getty Images

This blog was co-authored by Alex DeGolia, Director, U.S. Climate.

Last month, Colorado’s Senate Transportation and Energy Committee approved SB 23-16 — a wide-ranging bill that strengthens Colorado’s commitment to cut statewide climate pollution beyond 2030. It would put new targets in law requiring cuts of at least 65% by 2035, 80% by 2040, 90% by 2045, and strengthen the state’s 2050 target to ensure a 100% cut in pollution by 2050.

This climate bill arrives at a moment of great urgency and opportunity for the state.

As Colorado faces down the consequences of more climate change-fueled impacts, like droughts and wildfires, Coloradans are looking to their leaders to raise the state’s climate ambition and secure a safer, healthier future for their communities. At the same time, Colorado now has more opportunity than ever before to make that ambition a reality, thanks to billions in federal climate and clean energy investments from the Inflation Reduction Act.

Here are 4 reasons why the legislature should pass these ambitious climate targets:

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Posted in Cities and states, Greenhouse Gas Emissions, News, Policy, Science / Read 2 Responses

Western Climate Initiative kicks off 2022 with strong results – and high hopes for greater ambition

This was was co-authored with Caroline Jones, Analyst for U.S. Climate.

Wind farm in California.

PC: Tom Brewster Photography for the Bureau of Land Management.

The results of the Western Climate Initiative’s February auction were released today, and all current vintage allowances sold at a record-high price – raising over $970 million for the Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund.

These results arrive alongside major opportunities for California to bolster its climate leadership. The state’s Climate Change Scoping Plan update, which intends to chart a pathway to achieving California’s 2030 and 2045 greenhouse gas reduction goals, is well underway with preliminary modeling results expected this spring. And recently, a group of experts released a report highlighting ways California can strengthen its cap-and-trade program and make the most of its Scoping plan.

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Posted in California, Carbon Markets / Comments are closed

Colorado legislators passed a law to cut pollution from industry, but regulators have yet to deliver

Cement plant west of Pueblo, CO.

Cement plant west of Pueblo, CO. Photo by Jeffrey Beall

As the 2022 legislative session in Colorado gets underway – with many climate and environmental issues on the agenda – it’s important to take stock of what legislators accomplished on this front last year. One key action we’ve been tracking closely and hope to see progress on this year: Curbing climate pollution from industry and manufacturing.

On top of Colorado’s existing obligation to cut emissions across the economy, established in the state’s Climate Action Plan in 2019 (HB 19-1261), the legislature passed an additional mandate last year directing the state’s Air Quality Control Commission (AQCC) to adopt rules that ensure climate pollution from the industrial and manufacturing sector falls 20% below 2015 levels by 2030.

As we detail below, even with this further direction from legislators and some positive steps, progress on reducing emissions continues to be slow. In the fall, the Commission adopted a new rule that takes aim at climate pollution from four specific industrial facilities in Colorado. The new rule marked an important step forward as the first rule directly regulating climate pollution from one of the state’s major source categories, though together these facilities account for just 2% of the statewide emissions (see Figure 1 below).

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Posted in Cities and states, Greenhouse Gas Emissions / Comments are closed

Measuring the true impact of Colorado’s climate delay: A pathway for curbing pollution (Part 3)

After Colorado legislators passed landmark climate legislation in 2019, which included a statutory mandate directing the Air Quality Control Commission (AQCC) to adopt rules and regulations to reduce statewide emissions, the state has yet to adopt a policy framework capable of getting the job done. This three-part series explores the impact of Colorado’s delay, analyzing the impact on total emissions and the state’s ability to meet its own climate targets.

Alamosa Photovoltaic Power Plant.

Alamosa Photovoltaic Power Plant.

Colorado’s policy action is nowhere close to living up to its climate commitments. As we’ve illustrated in Part 1 and Part 2 of this series, the state is far off track from meeting its own climate goals, even accounting for all current policies and recently announced coal plant retirements. And the recently released final Roadmap doesn’t include a comprehensive and specific regulatory agenda that will secure the needed reductions. Without urgent action, climate pollution will continue building up in the atmosphere and will wreak further environmental, health and economic havoc on Coloradans.

But in the face of this immense challenge, the Air Quality Control Commission (AQCC)—the regulatory body responsible for ensuring Colorado meets its targets—has an opportunity to get the state on the right course. The Commission is already overdue on its responsibility to evaluate options and then propose a regulation or suite of regulations to meet its statutory climate targets. A recent EDF petition for an enforceable, declining emission limit could help the AQCC deliver concrete climate progress on an urgent timeline, while improving health and equity across the state.

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Posted in Cities and states, Greenhouse Gas Emissions / Comments are closed