Create Jobs, Make Communities Healthier, and Protect the Future With A Climate Action Plan

It seems like the costs of climate change increase every season, with each extreme weather event and the billions in damage. But tackling climate change can supercharge the economy by creating jobs, improving public health and reducing energy costs. A state Climate Action Plan lays out a roadmap to increase investment in clean energy, create good-paying jobs, reduce healthcare costs, and make communities more resilient by achieving measurable and ambitious climate change reduction goals.

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Frequently Asked Questions
Who does this help?
This policy benefits everyone in the state for whom new well-paying jobs, innovative businesses, better public health, less poisonous pollution of air and water, and lower energy costs are positive.
Is this high-cost to the state?
No. Climate change is causing states major economic loss. From wildfires and droughts, to health impacts from burning fossil fuels, the effects of climate change have cost the U.S. economy at least $240 billion a year over the past ten years. Addressing climate change now can save greater costs over time and supercharge the economy today by creating jobs and business opportunities for those working to reduce emissions and address environmental changes caused by global warming.
  • Environmental advocates
  • Renewable energy companies
  • Coastal and other communities impacted by climate change
  • Child health advocates
  • Coal and oil companies
  • Major polluters
  • Power producers opposed to innovation
Model Policy
This act shall be known as the Climate Action Plan Act
To combat climate change by establishing greenhouse gas emissions reduction targets, energy efficiency standards, and a resiliency plan with a framework for local involvement.

-(i) WHEREAS, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has found that warming of the global climate system is “unequivocal”; and
-(ii) WHEREAS, there is “no convincing alternative explanation” for changes in the climate other than “human activities, especially emissions of greenhouse gases” based on the most recent findings of the U.S. Global Change Research Program; and
-(iii) WHEREAS, climate change has a demonstrated and researched-backed impact on human health and safety, including increased natural disasters and increased, intensifying extreme weather, causing damage to ecosystems, social systems, and infrastructure; increased risks of waterborne and foodborne diseases, increased risks of vector-borne diseases, and increased range and distribution of disease-carrying insects, carrying diseases such as Zika and Lyme; and
-(iv) WHEREAS, the United States economy will decrease by 10% by the end of the 21st century according to the U.S. Global Change Research Program, if significant steps are not taken to address and reduce global warming.

(b) THEREFORE, it is the goal of STATE to take all necessary and appropriate steps to mitigate and prevent these impacts of human-induced climate change.

(c) The STATE BOARD OR DEPARTMENT RESPONSIBLE FOR AIR POLLUTION OR ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION (hereafter the Department) is the state agency charged with monitoring, regulating, and reducing emissions of greenhouse gases.

(d) Upon the effective date of this act, the Department shall adopt implementing rules and regulations to require the reporting and verification of statewide greenhouse gas emissions and the source and categories of source of emissions. These regulations shall include steps for the Department to monitor and enforce compliance with this section.

(e) Within one year of the effective date of this act, the Department shall, after one or more public workshops, with public notice, and an opportunity for all interested parties to comment:
-(i) determine the statewide greenhouse gas emissions level in calendar year 1990; and
-(ii) promulgate through implementing rules and regulations the maximum technologically feasible and cost-effective greenhouse gas emissions limits, at minimum achieving the following:
–(1) a 2050 statewide greenhouse gas emissions limit that is at least 90 per cent below the 1990 level;
–(2) an interim 2040 emissions limit that shall maximize the ability of STATE to meet the 2050 emissions limit;
–(3) a 2030 statewide emissions limit that is at least 50 percent below the 1990 level.

(f) Within two years of the effective date of this act, the Department shall, after one or more public workshops, with public notice, and an opportunity for all interested parties to comment, prepare and adopt a plan and issue implementing rules and regulations, for achieving the limits and interim limits established pursuant to (e) above. This plan shall be updated every five years.

(g) The Department may adopt regulations that establish a system of market-based declining annual aggregate emission limits for sources or categories of sources that emit greenhouse gas emissions, that the Department determines will achieve the maximum technologically feasible and cost-effective reductions in greenhouse gas emissions, in the aggregate, from those sources or categories of sources.

(h) The Department shall monitor compliance with and enforce any rule, regulation, order, emission limitation, emissions reduction measure, or market-based compliance mechanism adopted pursuant to this Act.

(i) The Department shall ensure that the greenhouse gas emission reduction rules, regulations, programs, mechanisms, and incentives adopted under this Act, where applicable and to the extent feasible, direct public and private investment toward rural, low–income, low– to moderate–income, and minority communities in STATE and provide an opportunity for small businesses, schools, affordable housing associations, and other community institutions to participate in and benefit from statewide efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

(j) In carrying out this Act, the Department shall:
-(1) Consult with all state agencies with jurisdiction over sources of greenhouse gases, including the STATE UTILITIES COMMISSION AND STATE ENERGY DEPARTMENT, on all elements of its plan that pertain to energy related matters including, but not limited to, electrical generation, load based-standards or requirements, the provision of reliable and affordable electrical service, petroleum refining, and statewide fuel supplies to ensure the greenhouse gas emissions reduction activities to be adopted and implemented by the Department are complementary, non-duplicative, and can be implemented in an efficient and cost-effective manner.
-(2) Design the regulations, including distribution of emissions allowances where appropriate, in a manner that is equitable, seeks to minimize costs and maximize the total benefits to STATE, and encourages early action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
-(3) Ensure that activities undertaken to comply with the regulations do not disproportionately impact rural, low–income, low– to moderate–income, or minority communities.
-(4) Ensure that entities that have voluntarily reduced their greenhouse gas emissions prior to the implementation of this section receive appropriate credit for early voluntary reductions.
-(5) Ensure that activities undertaken pursuant to the regulations complement, and do not interfere with, efforts to achieve and maintain federal and state ambient air quality standards and to reduce toxic air contaminant emissions.
-(6) Consider overall societal benefits, including reductions in other air pollutants, diversification of energy sources, and other benefits to the economy, environment, and public health.
-(7) Minimize the administrative burden of implementing and complying with these regulations.
-(8) Minimize reductions in greenhouse gas emissions in STATE that are offset by increases in emissions of greenhouse gases outside of STATE.
-(9) Consider the significance of the contribution of each source or category of sources to statewide emissions of greenhouse gases.
-(10) Consult with other states, and the federal government, and other nations to identify the most effective strategies and methods to reduce greenhouse gases, manage greenhouse gas control programs, and to facilitate the development of integrated and cost-effective regional, national, and international greenhouse gas reduction programs.
-(11) Evaluate the best available scientific, technological, and economic information on greenhouse gas emissions.
-(12) Maximize opportunities for workers and communities that may lose employment opportunities in the transition to a green economy.
-(13) Ensure job opportunities created through activities undertaken pursuant to this Act are shared geographically and demographically.

(k) All state agencies involved in implementing this Act shall assess and implement strategies to increase employment opportunities and improve job quality through the activities undertaken pursuant to this Act.
-(i) Within six months of the effective date of this Act, all state agencies shall report to the legislature on steps they are taking to ensure compliance with this section.

(l) This act shall be subject to current prevailing wage law.

(m) Permits, licenses, regulations and contracts undertaken pursuant to this Act that are public works as defined in STATE law; projects receiving over $100,000 in total financial assistance from STATE; and privately-financed projects on public property, shall include:
-(i) labor harmony policies;
-(ii) dispute resolution mechanisms;
-(iii) safety policies as required under STATE law;workers compensation insurance;
-(iv) and apprenticeships programs appropriate for the trades in which work is being performed.