Current Climate Change Legislation by State

Climate Change Legislation



Legislative and Legal Implications of AB 32

AB 32, also known as the Global Warming Solutions Act, requires California to reduce its greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions to 1990 levels by 2020 (25% below business-as-usual) and to further reduce to 80% below the state’s 1990 levels by the year 2050.  Per capita emissions would need to reduce from present levels of 13.5 tons of CO2 to 10 tons per capita in 2020 and to 1.5 tons per capita in 2050.

To date, the California Attorney General’s office has filed suit against 7 major projects, including the San Bernardino County General Plan, whose environmental documents failed to address global warming impacts.  The AG’s office is continuing to write comment letters on other EIR’s that lack adequate coverage of climate change from transportation and other sources, with particular attention toward making examples of large visible projects.

The following recent California legislative bills address climate change issues:

  • AB 32
  • AB 1493
  • AB 3005
  • SB 375
  • SB 732

The State has recently prepared several documents to guide local jurisdictions in addressing climate change and greenhouse gas emissions.  These include:


The State of Washington has two key bills addressing the issues of climate change, HB2815 and SB6580, with SB6580 focusing specifically on land use patterns. Both bills require reports, due in December 2008, which will outline actions to be taken to achieve the state’s greenhouse gas emissions reductions goal. Both reports will likely have a strong emphasis on the transportation sector with strategies ranging from transit expansion to smart growth policies. In addition, the city of Seattle has been very aggressive in implementing many multi-modal transportation and smart growth strategies in response to the City’s Climate Action Plan.

  • House Bill 2815 (Climate Change Framework/Green-Collar Jobs Act; effective June 2008): HB 2815 establishes a framework for meeting the State’s greenhouse gas emissions reductions goals established by Executive Order 07-02. The Bill declares that the department of transportation shall adopt broad statewide goals to reduce per capita vmt by 2050. These goals include a decrease annual per capita VMT by 18% by 2020, by 35% by 2035, and by 50% by 2050. The statewide baseline is 75b vehicle miles traveled. The Department of Ecology is required to submit a report by December 2008 to the transportation committees outlining the recommended tools and best practices to achieve the vmt reduction goals.
  • Senate Bill 6580 (Climate Change Mitigation through the Growth Management Act): SB 6580 is the State’s recognition that land use patterns affect climate change. This bill will utilize the existing Growth Mgmt Act to enact policies, practices, and methodologies related to land use to reduce VMT and ghg emissions. The bill tasks the Department of Community, Trade, and Economic Development to provide the following by December 2008.
  • Executive Order 07-02 (February 2007): Executive Order 07-02 establishes State greenhouse gas emissions reductions goals to 1990 levels by year 2020, 25% below 1990 levels by year 2035, and 50% below 1990 levels by year 2050. The governor also orders the development of a climate change initiative, Washington Climate Change Challenge, to achieve these goals. 60% of the year 2020 goals will come from emission standards, bio-fuels, green buildings, energy code standards and utilities. The remaining 40% will come from the Climate Change Challenge, which will include: market-base systems, local government and public involvement, and procedures from the Department of Ecology and Department of Community, Trade and Economic Development.


The State of Colorado is beginning to consider issues of climate change. Its recent Executive Order D004 08 declared statewide goals for emissions reductions but no strategies or measures have formally been implemented. On a state level, recommendations for the transportation sector do not explicitly emphasize multi-modal transportation, transit-oriented development, dense/mixed-use communities, or related smart growth strategies. The Colorado Climate Action Plan suggests a Governor’s Award to recognize communities with sustainable land use developments. Cities within Colorado, meanwhile, have been more aggressive in developing strategies to address climate change. Denver and Boulder, among others, have developed formal Climate Action Plans.


The State of Nevada has no current legislation regarding smart growth developments or multi-modal transportation. There is currently no state-level Climate Action Plan, and measures to curb greenhouse gas emissions in the transportation sector are not anticipated in the immediate future. The City of Las Vegas has recommended measures from its Climate Resolution relating to mass transit and urban development.


The State of Utah recently established a state-wide greenhouse gas emissions reductions goal but has yet to create a set of measures to achieve the reductions goal or pass legislation touching upon the issues of climate change. The State does not currently have a Climate Action Plan.  


The Western Climative Initiative (WCI) is a collaboration of governors to address the issues of climate change. WCI has set an overall regional goal of reducing aggregate emissions to 15% below 2005 levels by year 2020. The WCI is also designing a market-based mechanism for achieving these reductions and has completed a draft design of a regional cap-and-trade program (July 2008). The partners of WCI are: Arizona, British Columbia, California, Manitoba, Montana, New Mexico, Ontario, Oregon, Quebec, Utah, and Washington.



  1. Does New Mexico have any proposed bills before the legislature on Climate change initiatives?

  2. New Mexico:

  3. Does Oregon or Alaska have bills regarding climate change legislation either proposed or recently passed?

  4. In 2007, Oregon passed House Bill 3543 which mandates a reduction in Oregon’s greenhouse gas emissions to 10 percent below 1990 levels by 2020 and to 75 percent below 1990 levels by 2050. HB 3543 also created the Oregon Global Warming Commission.

    Some info on Alaska’s Climate Change legislation, HCR 30, can be found here:

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