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April 12th, 2010
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In the absence of federal leadership on climate change legislation, several states have decided to move forward on their own. California and Texas, which represent over 20% of the national GDP, have received particular attention for their respective approaches: the former pushing for CAFE standards, efficiency mandates and a cap and trade system, while the later focusing on expanding supply from all sources without capping GHGs. Both have upcoming elections that could act as a bellwether for where state energy policies are headed. GR Outlook analyzes the state approach to energy and climate change policy and what it is likely to mean going forward.


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Federal inaction on climate change has thrust the states, as well as cities, into the spotlight as the engines of innovation in energy policy.  Some states are boldly moving forward with innovative policy designs while others are backing away from regional agreements or renewable standards.  If gridlock continues at a Federal level, as Garten Rothkopf expects in the near term, much of national policy will be driven at the state of local level; the directions taken by key states in coming months/years will be critical.  Unsurprisingly, the most important states to watch are California and Texas.  In addition to comprising over 20% of the US economy, they have been at the forefront of innovative energy policies for more than a decade.  They will also be bellwethers for national sentiment in the mid-term elections.   In this Garten Rothkopf Energy and Climate Brief, we examine trends in state energy policy, with a particular focus on Texas and California, and how the results of their upcoming elections will help drive the future the course of national policy.

States as Drivers of Energy Innovation

During the last decade, many observers noted that while the federal government was largely ignoring the problem of climate change, states were moving forward on their own.  Regional coalitions in the Northeast, the Midwest, and the West set up efforts to reduce carbon emissions, one of which, the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI), has already created a functioning cap-and-trade system.  A majority of states (32), meanwhile, have either a renewable portfolio standard (RPS) or an alternative energy portfolio standard, which mandates that a certain percentage of the electricity produced in the state come from renewables or other alternative energy sources, such as nuclear or fossil fuels equipped with carbon capture and storage. With the election of Barack Obama to the presidency, many observers thought that these state-level efforts would translate into a federal climate change policy, complete with a cap-and-trade system, a national RPS, and other measures. 

Full article here.

12 April 2010
Isaac Smith
12 Apr 2010
Fossil Energy
12 Apr 2010
Climate Change
12 Apr 2010
08 Apr 2010
12 Apr 2010

Chinese Renewables Aren’t Growing Faster than Coal
April 2010
Council on Foreign Relations
Beijing's Attitude Adjustment
April 2010
Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
The Global Recession and Energy Markets
March 2010
Europe's World
US Senate

Has indicated that a filibuster of a Supreme Court Nominee is unlikely.

WH Office of Science and Technology Policy

Has announced the WH will release the long-overdue scientific integrity guidelines within the next month.

Garten Rothkopf
1330 Connecticut Avenue, N.W. Suite 500
Washington, D.C. 20036 | phone: 202.457.7920

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