Leading the Way

Policy Design for a Clean Revolution
Reading time: 15 minutes
14 June 2011

The United Nations Development Program estimates that 50–80% of mitigation and adaptation actions required to prevent significant impacts from global climate change will need to occur at the sub-national level.

Leadership by cities, states and regions is absolutely crucial because these governments are responsible for important policy areas such as the generation, supply and distribution of electricity, the regulation of the built environment, waste management, transport and land–use planning. Their action often serves as a testing ground for the roll out of policies at a national level.

Among the sub-national governments that are proactively implementing policies, the State of California, Province of Manitoba, State of New York, Province of Ontario and Province of Quebec, combined, have nearly 150 low carbon policies, at various stages of development.

These states are spearheading the Clean Revolution by reducing carbon through forward thinking policies focusing on renewables, energy efficiency, smart city planning, clean transport, fiscal measures and more. 

Drawing from the 150 low carbon policies across 10 sectors, this paper focuses on three policies in particular. The policies showcased in this paper include:

  • California’s investment in small-scale solar electric power systems through its California Solar initiative; 
  • Manitoba’s energy efficiency and energy conservation efforts through Manitoba Hydro’s Power Smart program; and
  • New York’s investments from its Regional Greenhouse Gas initiative auction proceeds in clean energy, energy efficiency and building their green economy.
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