Highlight of the Week: As Congress Waits, States Act on Climate

With the U.S. Senate otherwise occupied, state-level action to cut carbon pollution and curb global warming is setting thetone for climate work in the year ahead, according to a new report.

The study, released by Environment America, says that about half of the states have plans and regulations in place aimed at reducing carbon emissions by about 536 million metric tons-over 7 percent–over the next decade, representing significant progress toward the 17 percent reduction goal announced by President Obama at last month's Copenhagen climate summit.

"America's clean energy revolution – led by the states – shows that the nation is ready to commit to the emission reductions science tells us are necessary to prevent the worst impacts of global warming," the report says. "President Obama should build on these actions by working to forge a strong international agreement to address global warming during the Copenhagen talks."

Six U.S. states-California, Connecticut, Hawaii, Massachusetts, Maryland, and New Jersey-comprising nearly a quarter of the nation's economic output and 13 percent of its fossil fuel emissions have already implemented caps on carbon pollution, committing to reduce their global warming pollution by about 13 percent below 2005 levels by 2020.

Published: January 5, 2010