ClimateXChange, carbon pricing leader focused on state-level action in the US, joins CPLC
Between 2006 and 2009, over 21 States in the US set their own emissions reduction targets to be achieved in the coming decades. The initial goal setting represented a range of ambition, scope, and enforceability, while also creating a clear benchmark for future policy makers to be held accountable for. Fast forward to now, over a decade later, and for many states, the initial benchmarks are right around the corner.
Many states are well on their way to reach their targets with most reductions being achieved through the transition away from coal fired power, and improvements in energy efficiency. At the same time, new sectors of the economy have flourished and overshot even some of the most ambitious models and simulations for jobs created and economic stimulus. We have created over half a million jobs across all fifty states, and generated 742 million megawatthours of power through renewable energy – which has also led to cleaner air, new jobs, and a much smoother transition into a clean energy economy than many might have predicted.
While we can look fondly at the progress that has been made up to this point, two things remain clear. The science continues to evolve and show in even more excruciating detail the risks we face; and the timelines for the scope of action we’ll need have become shorter and much more ambitious. At the same time, the lowest hanging fruit has already been picked, it’s what has gotten us this far, and states will need new policy tools at their disposal to fuel the more rapid transition away from carbon-intensive economic activities, while also generating the right market force to reach deeper reductions in carbon pollution by mid century.
The good news is that policy makers are not alone. The private sector has stepped up to the mantle and is carrying its weight in setting ambitious climate goals and in many cases leading these conversations and efforts on a global scale. The inherent competitive nature of the private sector has led to a race to the top when it comes to target setting and innovation in carbon reduction. Even with this role reversal from the business community, we still need to provide more certainty and signalling for deeper reductions going forward. Importantly, businesses should push policymakers, as they have recently, to legislate carbon pollution pricing as a way to generate this necessary market incentive towards the clean economy we so desperately need.
Over the past five years, Climate XChange has been working with key stakeholder groups, including policy makers, advocacy and business leaders, and researchers to develop state-level market based policies that will provide the leverage needed to reach more ambitious carbon reductions for what remains an uncertain future. By providing technical assistance to policy experts and decision makers, frequent media coverage to existing policies, and campaign training to advocates, Climate XChange has shown that through persistence and flexibility, progress on market based policies can be made.
In 2013, only two states had introduced a state level market based approach. In 2019, this number grew to 16 states and stepped far outside states that could have previously been considered climate leaders. States including Pennsylvania, Virginia, New Mexico, and Montana introduced carbon pollution pricing policies, and for the first time displayed climate action outside of the normal “coastal safe havens” where other climate policies have popped up in the past.
Building off these existing networks, we look forward to sharing our knowledge and experiences with the wider CPLC community. We believe state-level climate policy in the United States, and the lessons learned as a result, can be a valuable resource for climate actors across the globe. The time is ripe for meaningful climate action through comprehensive and ambitious legislation, here in the U.S., a lot of that is coming from state governments across the country. We believe that is is critical to cross collaborate, share resources and information, and enable organic campaigns to develop and have an impact in their states. That is the work we have been doing through the State Carbon Pricing Network, by providing technical assistance, research and advocacy support, and forums for sharing these experiences and learning from best practices.