New interactive policy tool reveals how US states are tackling climate change

Reading time: 4 minutes
5 May 2016

NEW YORK: A new interactive tool analyzes how state clean energy policies are progressing in the US and highlights opportunities such policies are creating for citizens and businesses.

Just launched by The Center for the New Energy Economy at Colorado State University and The Nature Conservancy, the State Policy Opportunity Tracker (SPOT) for Clean Energy is a free online database, collating data from 18 major organizations on 38 clean energy policies in the US.

Today, the global low carbon economy is worth an impressive US$5 trillion – and it grew on average 11.8% per year in 2007-2010, compared to only 2.4% for the global economy as a whole. Clean energy policies across the globe are accelerating this shift, creating a framework where businesses can plan their long-term investments in line with the scientific target of keeping global warming below 2 degrees Celsius. This goal was also reinforced by the historic Paris Agreement at the COP21 climate talks last December.

Sub-national governments such as US states are at the forefront of this change. The Climate Group’s States & Regions Alliance – composed of 35 governments accounting for 354 million people, 12% of global GDP and 2.9 Gigatons of CO2 emissions – played a crucial role during COP21, showing how states, regions and provinces are setting bold climate targets and innovative policies around the world.

Now, the SPOT tool further enhances and synthesizes the extraordinary efforts that some US states are making to tackle climate change while protecting their citizens and enhancing their economy. A recent analysis by Climate Central and ICFI also demonstrates how The Climate Group States & Regions members CaliforniaNew York and Connecticut are among the US states better prepared for the future threats posed by climate disruption.

“States and regions are the fundamental link between citizens, businesses and global policies to safeguard our climate,” says Libby FergusonStates & Regions DirectorThe Climate Group. “These ‘unsung climate heroes’ are increasingly recognizing the opportunities arising from adapting and mitigating the effects of climate change, a challenge that if tackled early can even create more jobs and a resilient environment – saving both money and lives.”

Bill Ritter Jr., Director of the Center for the New Energy Economy and 41st Governor of Colorado, further underlines the role of subnational governments in the fight against climate change: “When we look at where clean energy policy has advanced, overwhelmingly states have led the way,” he says. “We believe that trend will continue. This site enables state policy makers to analyze their current state policies, and how they can go further, in a way that has not previously existed.”

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