Reducing greenhouse gas emissions: Lessons from state climate action plans

Melisa Pollak, Bryn Meyer, Elizabeth Wilson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

6 Scopus citations


We examine how state-level factors affect greenhouse gas (GHG) reduction policy preference across the United States by analyzing climate action plans (CAPs) developed in 11 states and surveying the CAP advisory group members. This research offers insights into how states approach the problem of choosing emissions-abatement options that maximize benefits and minimize costs, given their unique circumstances and the constellation of interest groups with power to influence state policy. The state CAPs recommended ten popular GHG reduction strategies to accomplish approximately 90% of emissions reductions, but they recommended these popular strategies in different proportions: a strategy that is heavily relied on in one state's overall portfolio may play a negligible role in another state. This suggests that any national policy to limit GHG emissions should encompass these key strategies, but with flexibility to allow states to balance their implementation for the state's unique geographic, economic, and political circumstances. Survey results strongly support the conclusion that decisions regarding GHG reductions are influenced by the mix of actors at the table. Risk perception is associated with job type for all strategies, and physical and/or geographic factors may underlie the varying reliance on certain GHG reduction strategies across states.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)5429-5439
Number of pages11
JournalEnergy Policy
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 2011


  • Climate action plan
  • Climate policy
  • State policy

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