The State of State Action

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"The State of State Action"

When it comes to tackling greenhouse gases, it seems there are the United States and then just the states. Since our national government lacks any substantive policy, let us turn instead to the local efforts.

At the forefront, of course, is California, which is why British Prime Minister Tony Blair went directly to Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger to discuss climate change solutions. Various other states have begun or completed action plans.

Map of State Action Plans, 2004, EPA

And it’s a good thing, too, because “among the top 75 emitters of global warming pollutants, 34 are US states,” as noted by an Environmental Finance piece, “The good news from the states.” The articles gleefully recognizes the state leadership (and is loaded with links to state-specific information).

A central question is whether tightening emission allowances also tightens the checkbook. So take a look at estimates from Arizona’s plan:

  • Total economic net savings of $5.5 billion
  • Somewhere around 286,000 jobs created
  • $500 million in savings associated with electricity consumption
  • Fuel efficiency gains of roughly $3 billion
  • Conclusion? That these small steps–shall we say baby steps?–by states against climate change certainly will not lead to “an undesirable crawl” in the economy.

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