Climate Action Plan Climate Action Plan

Many states have completed comprehensive Climate Action Plans, or are in the process of revising or developing one. The plans detail steps that the states can take to reduce their contribution to climate change. The process of developing a climate action plan can identify cost-effective opportunities to reduce GHG emissions that are relevant to the state. The individual characteristics of each state’s economy, resource base, and political structure provide different opportunities for dealing with climate change. However, without targets for emissions reductions, incentives for cleaner technologies, or other clear policies, climate action plans will not achieve real reductions in GHG emissions.

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Climate Change Impacts Climate Change Impacts

As President Obama said, climate change is happening -- and the effects are already being felt across the country. 2012 was the hottest year on record; the worst drought in generations covered more than half the country; record wildfires swept across western states; and an intensified Superstorm Sandy devastated communities in the East.

The map above shows how the following three extreme climate trends have caused major issues to the energy sector across the country over the past ten years:

  1. Increasing air and water temperatures;
  2. Decreasing water availability across regions and seasons; and
  3. Increasing intensity and frequency of storm events, flooding and sea level rise

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An Energy Efficiency Resource Standard (EERS) or energy efficiency target is a mechanism to encourage more efficient generation, transmission, and use of electricity. An EERS is similar in concept to a Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) or Alternative Energy Portfolio Standard (AEPS), in that an EERS requires utilities to reduce energy use by a specified and increasing percentage or amount each year. There are a variety of ways an EERS policy can be implemented. Some states have a separate EERS and RPS, while other states combine the mechanisms by allowing energy efficiency to meet part or all of an RPS. Learn more about states with RPS and AEPS here. Efficiency reduction requirements or targets may also be established by state public utility commissions. In some states, public utility commissions determine savings requirements through a collaborative process with utilities. Electricity savings requirements for utilities may include flexibility to achieve the standard through a market-based trading system of energy savings certificates. All EERS include end-use energy savings. In some cases, distribution system efficiency improvements, combined heat and power (CHP) systems and other high-efficiency distributed generation systems are also included. Penalties for non-compliance vary by state.

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Climate Change Tips For the Office Climate Change Tips For the Office

At the Office:

1. Manage your office equipment energy use better

Did you know that the total electricity consumed by idle electronics equals the annual output of 12 power plants? Save energy and reduce greenhouse gas emissions at work by setting your computer, monitor and other office equipment to power down when not in use. Activate the power management featureson your computer and monitor, unplug laptop power cords when not in use and turn off equipment and lights at the end of the day. Plugging everything into a power strip makes it easy to shut everything down at one time.

2. Look for ENERGY STAR-qualified products for the office

Office products that have earned the ENERGY STARfeature special energy-efficient designs, which enable them to use less energy while performing regular tasks. Look for ENERGY STAR-qualified office equipment, such as computers, copiers, and printers, in addition to more than 60 product categories, including lighting, heating and cooling equipment, and commercial appliances.

3. Ask your office building manager if your building has earned the ENERGY STAR

Buildings can earn EPA's ENERGY STARtoo! ENERGY STAR-labeled buildingsprovide safe, healthy, and productive environments that use about 35% less energy than average buildings. Their efficient use of energy also reduces the total operational cost of the building. Let your facility's maintenance department know about the ENERGY STAR buildings program, so they can learn how to improve your building's performance.

4. Use less energy for your commute

Switching to public transportation, carpooling, biking, or telecommuting, can save energy and reduce greenhouse gas emissions on your way to and from work. Encourage your employer to offer commuter benefits that address limited or expensive parking, reduce traffic congestion, improve employee recruiting and retention and minimize the environmental impacts associated with drive-alone commuting. If you do drive, find out the fuel efficiency of your vehicle at the Federal Fuel Economywebsite, and make more environmentally informed choices when purchasing your next vehicle by using EPA's Green Vehicle Guide.

5. Reduce, reuse, recycle

Reducing, reusing, and recyclingat the office helps conserve energy, and reduces pollution and greenhouse gas emissions. Reduce, reuse, and recycle at the office by using two-sided printing and copying; only printing what you need; buying supplies made with recycled content; and recycling paper products, batteries, and used printer cartridges. All of these actions help conserve energy and reduce carbon pollution. For old electronics (e.g., computers, monitors, cell phones, TVs), investigate leasing programs, manufacturer and retailer take-back programs, and municipal programs and events to ensure reuse and recycling. You can also donate used equipment to schools or other organizations and take advantage of any available tax incentives for computer donations. Visit EPA's WasteWisewebsite for information on starting a recycling program at work.

6. Use Green Power

Emissions from electricity generated from fossil fuels can be one of the most significant environmental impacts associated with your organization's operations. Green power is electricity that is generated from renewable energy sources such as wind, sun, geothermal, and biomass. Purchasing green power is an easy, effective way for your organization to reduce its carbon footprint and environmental impact. Visit EPA's Green Power Partnershipfor information on how to purchase green power.


7. Encourage your organization to develop a greenhouse gas inventory

Developing a greenhouse gas inventoryis a critical first step toward measuring and managing your organization’s climate change impact. An inventory is a list of emission sources and the associated emissions quantified using standardized methods. Many organizations are taking this step and by doing so find that most of their emissions come from building heating and cooling, fleet vehicles, electricity use, and employee travel. EPA’s Center for Corporate Climate Leadershipis a resource center to help all organizations identify and achieve cost-effective GHG emission reductions.

Climate Change Tips For the Road Climate Change Tips For the Road

On the Road:

1. Buy smart: Purchase a fuel-efficient, low-greenhouse gas vehicle

When shopping for a new or used vehicle (or even renting a vehicle), choose the cleanest, most fuel-efficient vehicle that meets your needs. With a wide range of clean, fuel-efficient vehicles available today, it’s easier than ever to go green—for the environment, and for your wallet. Check out, to find the best, most comprehensive information on vehicle emissions and fuel economy.

2. Drive smart

To improve your fuel economy and reduce greenhouse gas emissions, go easy on the brakes and gas pedal, avoid hard accelerations, reduce your time spent idling (no more than 30 seconds), and unload unnecessary items in your trunk to reduce weight. If you have a removable roof rack and you are not using it, take it off to improve your fuel economy. Use cruise control if you have it, and for vehicles with selectable four-wheel drive, consider operating in two-wheel drive mode when road conditions make it safe to do so.

3.  Car Maintenance...

Get regular tune-ups, follow the manufacturer’s maintenance 4 Check your tires

Check your tire pressure regularly. Under-inflation increases tire wear, reduces your fuel economy, and leads to higher greenhouse gas and other air pollutant emissions. If you don’t know the correct tire pressure for your vehicle, you can find it listed on the door to your vehicle’s glove compartment, or on the driver's-side door pillar.

And when it’s time for new tires, consider purchasing tires with “low rolling resistance,” an energy-saving feature.

4. Give your car a break

Use public transportation, carpool, or walk or bikewhenever possible to avoid using your car. Leaving your car at home just two days a week can reduce your greenhouse gas emissions by an average of two tons per year.

Also consider telecommuting (working from home via phone or the Internet), which can reduce the stress of commuting, reduce harmful emissions, and save you money. And when driving, try combining your errands and activities into one trip.

5. Use renewable fuels

Give E85and biodiesela try. Both are renewable fuels (made from renewable sources such as corn) that can reduce greenhouse gas emissions from your vehicle. E85 is a fuel blend containing 85% ethanol and 15% gasoline that can be used in certain vehicles called Flex Fuel Vehicles (FFVs). FFVs are designed to be fueled with either E85 or traditional gasoline. There are millions of FFVs on the road today—to find out if you own one, check the inside of your car's fuel door for an identification sticker, or consult your owner’s manual.

If you own a diesel vehicle, consider filling up with a biodiesel blend such as B5, which is a diesel fuel blend containing 5% biodiesel.

The Department of Energy’s Alternative Fueling Station Locatorcan help you locate both E85 and biodiesel fuel stations in your area.

6. Switch off your car if you plan to be parked for more than 15 seconds

7. Avoid drive-thrus

8. Slow down! For every 10km over 100km/h you drive, you lose approximately 10% of your fuel efficiency

9. Monitor your fuel consumption

Greenhouse Gas Emission Target Greenhouse Gas Emission Target

A greenhouse gas emissions target refers to the emission reduction levels that states set out to achieve by a specified time. For example, a state may set a target of reducing emissions to 1990 levels by 2020, and to 50 percent below 1990 levels by 2050.

States use a variety of baseline years, ranging from 1990 to 2006, and a few different years for the ultimate target, ranging from 2020 to 2050. Most states have an common ultimate target year of 2050. The baseline year and additional details can be found by clicking on individual states.


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Climate Change Tips For the Home Climate Change Tips For the Home

Everyone knows driving a car can lead to greenhouse gas emissions, but did you know  using electricity to light and heat your home and throwing away garbage can create the same effect too?


You can reduce emissions through simple actions. Here are some ways you can do so:

At Home:

1. Change five lights

Replace your five most frequently used light fixturesor the light bulbsin them with ENERGY STAR®qualified products and you will help the environment while saving $70 a year on energy bills. ENERGY STARlighting provides bright, warm light; generates 75% less heat; uses about 75% less energy than standard lighting; and lasts from 10 to 50 times longer.

2. Look for ENERGY STAR

When buying new products for your home, look for EPA's ENERGY STARlabel to help you make the most energy-efficient decision.

You can find the ENERGY STARlabel on more than 60 kinds of products, including appliances, lighting, heating and cooling equipment, electronics, and office equipment. Over their lifetime, products in your home that have earned the ENERGY STARlabel can reduce greenhouse gas emissions by about 130,000 pounds and save you $11,000 on energy bills.


3. Heat and cool smartly

Heating and cooling accounts for almost half your energy bill--about $1,000 a year! There is a lot you can do to drive down this cost. Simple steps like changing air filters regularly, properly using a programmable thermostat, and having your heating and cooling equipment maintained annually by a licensed contractor can save energy and increase comfort, while helping to protect the environment. Depending on where you live, you can cut your annual energy bill by more than $200 by replacing your old heating and cooling equipment with ENERGY STAR-qualified equipment.

4. Seal and insulate your home

Reduce air leaks and stop drafts by using caulk, weather stripping, and insulation to seal your home's envelope and add more insulation to your attic to block out heat and cold. A knowledgeable homeowner or skilled contractor can save up to 20% on heating and cooling costs and significantly enhance home comfort with comprehensive sealing and insulating measures.

5. Reduce, reuse, recycle

Reducing, reusing, and recycling in your home helps conserve energy and reduces pollution and greenhouse gas emissions from resource extraction, manufacturing, and disposal. If there is a recycling program in your community, recycle your newspapers, beverage containers, paper, and other goods. Also, composting your food and yard waste reduces the amount of garbage that you send to landfills and reduces greenhouse gas emissions. Visit EPA's Individual WAste Reduction Model (iWARM)to learn about the energy benefits of recycling, rather than landfilling, common waste products.

6. Use water efficiently

It takes lots of energy to pump, treat, and heat water, so saving water reduces greenhouse gas emissions. Saving water around the home is simple. Three percent of the nation's energy is used to pump and treat water so conserving water conserves energy that reduces greenhouse gas pollution. Reduce the amount of waste you generate and the water you consume whenever possible. Pursue simple water-saving actions such as not letting the water run while shaving or brushing teeth and save money while conserving water by using products with the WaterSenselabel. Did you know a leaky toiletcan waste 200 gallons of water per day? Repair all toilet and faucet leaks right away. Running your dishwasher only with a full load can save 100 pounds of carbon dioxide and $40 per year. Be smart when irrigating your lawn or landscape. Only water when needed, and do it during the coolest part of the day; early morning is best. See EPA's WaterSense sitefor more water saving tips.

7. Be green in your yard

Composting your food and yard waste reduces the amount of garbage that you send to landfills and reduces greenhouse gas emissions. EPA's GreenScapes program provides tips on how to improve your lawn or garden while also helping the environment.

8. Purchase green power

Power your home by purchasing green power. Green poweris environmentally friendly electricity that is generated from renewable energy sources such as wind and the sun. There are two ways to use green power: You can buy green power, or you can modify your house to generate your own green power. Buying green power is easy. It offers a number of environmental and economic benefits over conventional electricity, including lower greenhouse gas emissions, and it helps increase clean energy supply. There are a number of steps you can take to create a greener home, including installing solar panelsand researching incentives for renewable energy in your state.


9. Calculate your household's carbon footprint

Use EPA's Household Greenhouse Gas Emissions Calculatorto estimate your household greenhouse gas emissions resulting from energy use, transportation, and waste disposal. This tool helps you understand where your emissions come from and identify ways to reduce them.