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States can drive meaningful greenhouse gas emissions reductions through on-the-ground policies, and also serve as ‘learning laboratories’ for future federal policy, developing and testing new models for programs that could be implemented at the national level. States have long been leaders in this space, such as California, which is reducing economy-wide GHGs through its Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006, as well as the states participating in the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI), a multistate cap-and-trade program that aims to reduce carbon pollution from power plants. A number of other states have developed climate action plans, and are implementing renewable electricity standards, energy efficiency standards, and smart growth initiatives.

States will also be front-and-center in the implementation of several key EPA regulations, such as those for the power sector. They will have the ability to craft state-specific implementation plans that achieve the necessary reductions while optimizing benefits for their citizens and their economies.

WRI works with states on a variety of regional and individual state programs, producing data-driven analyses and reports to assist in policy development. For example, WRI worked with states during the development of RGGI and the Western Climate Initiative. WRI is currently engaging states through North America 2050, a group of U.S. states and Canadian provinces committed to policies that move their jurisdictions toward a low-carbon economy. As part of WRI’s involvement with Midwestern states, WRI developed the Power Almanac of the American Midwest—a data-rich online platform providing easily accessible information on Midwestern electricity resources, including power plants, natural resources, and industrial facilities. As part of all of these processes, WRI works with states to think through common-sense approaches to regulations that meet the unique needs of their state and region.

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