In the United States, it appears likely that within the next few years some form of comprehensive climate legislation will be adopted. President Barack Obama supports an economy-wide cap-and-trade GHG program, as do the chairs of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee (Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-CA) and the House Energy and Commerce Committee (Rep. Henry A. Waxman, D-CA). These are, however, recent developments. While some in Congress have developed bills to cap or otherwise limit GHG emissions in recent years, no legislation been approved by either house.
In the absence of federal action over the past decade, the increasing scientific consensus reflected in international reports prompted many state and local leaders to begin work on a “bottom up” approach to climate change. This article provides an overview of major state and local climate change programs, including regional initiatives. Other articles in this issue of EM address some of these programs in more detail. This article concludes with some speculation and recommendations about the possible role of state and local innovation in any future federal program.