STATES TAKE ACTION
More than half the states have policies to reduce greenhouse gases
Although the Bush administration has refused to join international efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, more than half the states have adopted voluntary or mandatory policies that address climate change.
A California law requires its Air Resources Board to develop rules by January 2005 to reduce CO2 emissions from motor vehicles. Texas has decided that 3 to 4% of its energy will come from renewable sources, especially wind. Massachusetts set limits on CO2 emissions from six major coal- and oil-burning utilities that provide about 40% of its electricity. New Jersey set a goal of reducing overall CO2 emissions 3.5% below 1990 levels by 2005.
According to a new study by the Pew Center on Global Climate Change, states led by Democrats, Republicans, and Independents alike have taken such actions, usually to address a crisis within the state.
"The report shows that addressing climate change is not only possible but can be done in a manner that is bipartisan and consistent with regional economic development goals," says Eileen Claussen, president of the Pew Center. Federal policymakers should actively involve states in the design of federal and international programs, she adds.
The report includes case studies, which describe how nine states developed policies to reduce greenhouse gases. Often, the strategies were approved by bipartisan coalitions. Some states adopted both renewable portfolio standards and mandatory reporting of greenhouse gases--very controversial topics at the federal level--with little dissent.
The report notes that states have limited funding to carry out these climate-change initiatives and says a state-by-state approach is less efficient than a national policy.