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Federal Climate Actions

The Georgetown Climate Center strives to strengthen state-federal partnerships and to maximize efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and develop the clean energy economy at all levels of government. The Center works closely with federal officials and informs stakeholders about the potential effect of federal actions on state revenue and programs.  As part of that effort, the Center tracks and analyzes federal climate legislation and regulation.

News and Updates

As communities across the country prepare for and recover from winter storms, the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs hosted a hearing on the costs of extreme weather events.

Senator Tom Carper (D-DE), chairman of the committee, welcomed two panels of experts to the Capitol on Feb. 12 to discuss ways the federal government can prepare for (and encourage states, communities, and private property owners to prepare for) the impacts of climate change and extreme weather.

There was universal agreement among committee members and panelists that extreme weather presents a significant financial risk to the federal government, state and local governments, and private property owners.

This reality was illustrated by the addition of...

This week, the Environmental Protection Agency is publishing proposed rules to reduce carbon pollution from new power plants. That's an important -- and prudent -- step forward on fighting climate change.

The proposed rules would essentially make it impossible to build new coal-burning power plants unless they are fitted with systems to capture and store their carbon emissions. Utilities could, however, build new plants that burn cleaner, lower emitting fuels like natural gas. EPA will receive public comments on the rules until March 10 and has been directed by President Obama to finalize them "in a timely fashion."...

In a letter to the EPA today, state environment and energy leaders from 15 states—including midwest and mountain states like Minnesota, Illinois, and Colorado—urged the federal agency to allow states to use their broad clean energy and climate approaches to meet upcoming carbon pollution reduction requirements. 

The group encouraged the federal government to move forward with standards that will achieve significant emission reductions and suggested that their success in using diverse clean energy policies points the way to achieving the new standards in a cost effective way.  They also encouraged the federal agency to...

President Obama signed an executive order today, directing federal agencies to modernize their programs to support climate-resilient investments, manage lands and waters for climate resilience, provide information, data, and tools to communities and businesses, and plan for climate change related risks.

In order to implement these actions, the President also created two bodies to coordinate federal efforts to prepare for climate impacts. A new Task Force on Climate Preparedness and Resilience will advise the President, comprised of state, local, and tribal leaders from across the country (a full list of the members is below).  The task force will be led by the Chair of the Council of Environmental Quality (CEQ) and the Director of the White House Office of...

The Georgetown Climate Center hosted a discussion October 28 among senior state, power company, and federal leaders about the development of carbon pollution standards for existing power plants.

The federal government is currently seeking input on potential paths forward as it develops standards under the Clean Air Act Sec. 111(d).  The Obama Administration has indicated it wants to build on the experiences of states and power companies, many of which are already achieving significant carbon pollution reductions.  The administration has also indicated it wants to provide states with flexibility in meeting the upcoming standards.

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On September 20 the EPA proposed greenhouse gas (GHG) performance standards for new fossil fuel-fired power plants.

The proposed standards represent an important component of President Barack Obama’s climate action plan. GHG emissions from the power sector account for approximately 40 percent of total U.S. emissions, and represent the single largest category of emissions.

The proposal requires new natural gas- and coal-fired power plants to meet specific carbon pollution emission standards in the range of 1,000 to 1,100 pounds of...

With the Obama Administration's proposed carbon pollution limits for new power plants announced, additional focus and attention will soon be placed on how the administration intends to work with states and power companies to put forth carbon pollution limits for existing power plants as well.

The Georgetown Climate Center has been working with states and other stakeholders to understand how standards for existing sources can build on current state clean energy and greenhouse gas programs that are already reducing carbon pollution and providing economic and health benefits to states.  Through these conversations, the Georgetown Climate Center...