Ceres unique work in mobilizing investor and company support helped achieve numerous state policy wins on climate and clean energy, which are catalyzing local investment, job creation and economic growth.
Topping the list was passage of California’s signature climate law, which sets new targets for greenhouse gas reductions – 40 percent below 1990 levels – by 2030. Ceres brought a dozen investors and companies to Sacramento to voice their support for the bill – an effort that California Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon called “critical” to achieving final passage last summer.
Ceres also worked closely with investors and companies to make the business case for renewable energy and energy efficiency standards in Ohio and Michigan. The payoff in Ohio came in late December, when Gov. John Kasich vetoed an energy bill that would have set back efforts to advance clean energy. Business advocates were crucial in picking off enough Republicans to prevent a veto override. In Michigan, we were effective in encouraging Republican and Democratic lawmakers to increase renewable energy standards through 2021, as well as establish stronger energy efficiency standards.
We mobilized Fortune 500 companies with operations in Virginia to issue a letter to the state legislature calling for an explicit legal framework to increase renewable energy options from the state’s utilities and third-party vendors. This has led to a dialogue between state legislators and Gov. McAuliffe’s office about the needs of large corporate buyers and policy solutions that will enable them to meet their greenhouse gas reduction and renewable energy sourcing goals.
How these dialogues and state policies evolve in 2017 will be critical in continuing strong clean energy momentum across the United States. Among the biggest priorities is extending and strengthening the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, known as RGGI, an effort to curb power plant carbon pollution in the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast states. Governors representing the RGGI states received strong letters, organized by Ceres, from 85 companies and investors urging them to do just that.