Climate Action Under a New U.S.

by the Pew Center on Global Climate Change


This event discussed state action
taken on global climate change, and

prospects for national climate
action, as well as for US engagement

in the international climate regime.
In an effort to facilitate exchange,

the organizers requested that
comments not be attributed to individual

speakers, with the exception of
those of Pew Center representatives.


Manik Roy, Pew Center,
discussed the US President-elect Barack

Obama’s commitment to reduce US
emissions to 1990 levels by 2020

and 80% below 1990 levels by 2050.
He said there were important

lessons to learn from individual
states and the business community,

which have been acting on climate
change in advance of national



The first panelist described state
climate activities, highlighting

the Midwest
Greenhouse Gas Reduction Accord, the Regional

Greenhouse Gas Initiative, and the
Western Climate Initiative,

which collectively involve a
significant percentage of US emissions.


He discussed the commonalities and
differences among these

programmes, such as those related to
the inclusion of different sectors

and offsets. He stressed that
despite regional differences, state

governments are aiming to make programmes
that can be integrated

as much as possible.


The second panelist discussed the
work of the US Senate Committee

on Environment and Public Works. He
said that the Committee was the

first to pass comprehensive
economy-wide global warming legislation.

He suggested that this process had
laid the groundwork for the next

Congress and that climate change was
a high priority. He said that he

was not in a position to speculate
about future legislation but noted the

interest in progress on the issue.


The third panelist discussed
progress on climate change in the US

House of Representatives Committee
on Oversight and Government

Reform. She noted the significant
role of the committees in passing

legislation. She described Chairman
Waxman’s record on climate

change and his previous sponsorship
of legislation, and involvement in

establishing principles for climate
action, such as reducing emissions

to prevent dangerous global warming,
transition to clean energy

sources, and minimizing economic


The fourth panelist explained the
work of the US Climate Action

Partnership (USCAP), which is
working to elaborate proposals to

provide guidance to companies and
the incoming administration.

She described the composition of the
group, which includes large

companies and environmental
non-governmental organizations. She

noted that USCAP had urged
policymakers to act quickly to reduce

greenhouse gases and had proposed
short- and mid-term emissions

reduction targets to that end. She
said that the commitment of CEOs

to engage seriously on these issues
illustrates the importance of action

on climate change, especially given
the current financial situation.

She urged US leadership and said that USCAP
wants to see early,

comprehensive and effective


Participants discussed: the pace of
domestic climate legislation in the

next Congress; what the EU can do to
speed US
action on climate

change; the effectiveness of
bypassing Congress to “fast track