finding 29.1 : key-message-29-1

Mitigation-related activities are taking place across the United States at the federal, state, and local levels as well as in the private sector (very high confidence). Since the Third National Climate Assessment, a growing number of states, cities, and businesses have pursued or deepened initiatives aimed at reducing emissions (very high confidence).



This finding is from chapter 29 of Impacts, Risks, and Adaptation in the United States: The Fourth National Climate Assessment, Volume II.

Process for developing key messages:

The scope for this chapter was determined by the federal Fourth National Climate Assessment (NCA4) Steering Committee, which is made up of representatives from the U.S. Global Change Research Program (USGCRP) member agencies (see App. 1: Process for more information regarding the Steering Committee). The scope was also informed by research needs identified in the Third National Climate Assessment (NCA3) and in subsequent gap analyses.d6eb34ef-1bfb-4b90-a397-f6bb363086a0 Prospective authors were nominated by their respective agency, university, organization, or peers. All prospective authors were interviewed with respect to their qualifications and expertise. Authors were selected to represent the diverse perspectives relevant to mitigation, with the final team providing perspectives from federal and state agencies, nonfederal climate research organizations, and the private sector. The author team sought public input on the chapter scope and outline through a webinar and during presentations at conferences and workshops.

The chapter was developed through technical discussions of relevant evidence and expert deliberation by the report authors during extensive teleconferences, workshops, and email exchanges. These discussions were informed by the results of a comprehensive literature review, including the research focused on estimating the avoided or reduced risks of climate change. The authors considered inputs submitted by the public, stakeholders, and federal agencies and improved the chapter based on rounds of review by the public, National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, and federal agencies. The author team also engaged in targeted consultations during multiple exchanges with contributing authors from other chapters of this assessment, as well as authors of the Climate Science Special Report (CSSR). For additional information on the overall report process, see Appendix 1: Process.

Description of evidence base:

Since NCA3, state, local, and tribal entities have announced new or enhanced efforts to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. While some policies with emissions co-benefits have been eliminated, on net there has been an increase in initiatives aimed at reducing emissions. Figure 29.1 includes several types of state-level efforts and is sourced from Figure ES-3 of the America’s Pledge Phase 1 report, the most comprehensive listing of efforts across sectors currently available. The underlying state information is sourced from the U.S. Department of Energy, Appliance Standards Awareness Project, Open Energy Information, Rethink Food Waste Through Economics and Data, World Resources Institute, State of New York, California Air Resources Board, University of Minnesota, Land Trust Alliance, and the U.S. Forest Service.

U.S. state and local carbon pricing programs have increased in number since NCA3.7225530f-0579-4a4b-a1b3-bd1fa9ae55d2 The Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative has expanded the depth of emissions reductions activities and is considering adding transportation to their scope. California’s cap and trade program started in 2012 and expanded by linking to Quebec and Ontario in 2017. Emissions trading systems are scheduled in Massachusetts and under consideration in Virginia.7225530f-0579-4a4b-a1b3-bd1fa9ae55d2

U.S. states have both mandatory and voluntary programs that vary in stringency and impact. For example, 29 states, Washington, DC, and 3 territories have Renewable Portfolio Standards (RPS; https://energy.gov/eere/slsc/renewable-portfolio-standards-resources), which require some portion of electricity to be sourced from renewable energy; while 8 states and 1 territory have voluntary renewable portfolio goals.8ae1bf4d-4ea5-4c70-91bd-a1b7e3cc17fa,c9761a3e-37aa-4cfb-8d17-1e3f01ee836b Likewise, 20 states have mandatory statewide Energy Efficiency Resource Standards (EERS; https://energy.gov/eere/slsc/energy-efficiency-resource-standards-resources), and 8 states have energy efficiency goals.8ae1bf4d-4ea5-4c70-91bd-a1b7e3cc17fa While the number of states with RPS and EERS policies remains similar to that during NCA3, emissions reductions associated with the impact of these policies have and are projected to increase.7f4ecc6c-69e5-4866-9fac-a5c7e531f3e1 In 2013, 8 states initiated an effort to coordinate implementation of their state zero-emission vehicle programs and have since taken a wide range of actions.119864b3-e23d-4021-86d5-e4fccb0385ae

Federal budget levels for activities that have reduced GHG have remained steady over recent years. There is uncertainty around the implementation of federal initiatives, in part owing to the implementation of Executive Order 13783.12892612-06cb-4b04-86fa-b88ae37dc766,37f81db2-5010-4e7d-a9df-f5caaaa29879 Federal energy-related research and development have several co-benefits, including reduced emissions.f0b1dfab-0930-41b3-a780-e50b5887802a

U.S. companies that report through the Carbon Disclosure Project increasingly (although not comprehensively) reported board-level oversight on climate issues, which rose from 50% in 2011 to 71% in 2017. Likewise, 59 U.S. companies recently committed to set science-based emissions reduction targets.47f855e2-eed7-4027-bedd-22313d13319e U.S. businesses are increasingly pricing carbon.47f855e2-eed7-4027-bedd-22313d13319e,417ea095-d99e-4ef2-bc70-945c34a2596d Corporate procurement of utility-scale solar has grown by an order of magnitude since 2014.141185af-76a0-4f8b-9902-82b546a3b27b

As indicated in the Education Institutions Reporting Database, a growing number of universities have made emissions reduction commitments or deepened existing commitments46cee5f3-4325-4e5e-ac7f-012325111ba1 as well as publicized the progress on their efforts.ba372d89-ab64-4112-9d48-76f8f323c232

New information and remaining uncertainties:

Figure 29.1 shows a count of each type of 30 measures across 6 categories, but it does not explore the relative stringency or emissions impact of the measures. The size, scope, time frame, and enforceability of the measures vary across states. Some state efforts and the majority of city efforts are voluntary, and therefore standards for reporting are heterogeneous. Efforts are underway to provide a rigorous accounting of the cumulative scale of these initiatives. Data collection through the America’s Pledge effort is an ongoing, iterative process and, by necessity, involves aggregating different measures into categories. Historically, state, local, and corporate policies change on different cycles.

Assessment of confidence based on evidence:

There is very high confidence that state, local, and private entities are increasingly taking, or are committed to taking, GHG mitigation action. Public statements and collated indices show an upward trend in the number of commitments, as well as the breadth and depth of commitments over the past five years.

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