Climate and Energy
NESCAUM's Climate and Energy Team supports the Northeast states in their individual and regional efforts to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, improve energy efficiency, and implement clean and renewable energy technologies. Our efforts include a variety of activities to support states in meeting their climate and energy goals, such as technical assistance, policy analysis, and strategic communications and outreach. The Climate and Energy Team also participates on behalf of NESCAUM states in federal and international climate policy debates and identifies emerging climate and energy issues for our members. We strive to provide a forum for the states to work together to address climate and energy challenges.
Major activities of the NESCAUM Climate and Energy Team include:
- NESCAUM is active in assessing biomass as a climate-friendly alternative energy source for the Northeast. Attractive options are biomass fuels for residential and commercial space heating and in combined heat & power (CHP) systems. NESCAUM provides reasoned analyses to help exploit the use of biomass as a clean Northeast energy source when coupled with clean air technologies and sustainable practices to minimize adverse air quality and environmental impacts. Biodiesel is another interest area at NESCAUM for its potential climate and public health benefits in displacing a portion of high-sulfur heating oil commonly used in the Northeast.
- Climate and Energy Modeling
- To ensure that state policymakers have sound analytic results for decision-making, the Climate and Energy Team is applying a suite of modeling and analytic tools to better understand the impacts and tradeoffs of climate and energy policy choices. NESCAUM has built an integrated framework of regional energy, climate, and air quality models for evaluating the environmental and economic impacts of climate and energy policy options. Initial projects include an evaluation of high-efficiency residential heating initiatives, an uncertainty assessment of climate change on ozone and particulate matter, and technical support of state energy planning analyses.
- Climate and Energy Planning
- NESCAUM provides analysis to help the Northeast states reach their GHG reduction goals as agreed to in state climate action plans and regional programs. Our team also supports the NESCAUM states participating in the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI), the first cap-and-trade program in the country designed to reduce GHG emissions from electricity generation. NESCAUM has also launched a new state-based Climate and Energy Committee to identify and move forward integrated solutions for clean energy, climate, and air quality at the state and regional level.
- Greenhouse Gas Emissions Reporting
- NESCAUM assists in developing credible reporting tools and protocols to help states, companies, and other entities in quantifying, monitoring, and reporting their GHG emissions. Specific projects include updating regional and state GHG inventories. This builds upon NESCAUM’s earlier work in creating a GHG emission inventory in the New England and eastern Canadian region, and helping launch The Climate Registry, a multi-state voluntary GHG reporting system.
- Greenhouse Gas Mitigation Projects
- We have sponsored Clean Air Communities projects in New York City aimed at mitigating GHG emissions and other harmful pollutants, including the development of a five vehicle hybrid – electric shuttle bus program in the Bronx, installation of NYC’s largest green roof, support for inner city solar rooftop systems, placement of city sidewalk solar-powered trash compactors, electrification of ground equipment at LaGuardia Airport, and conversion at an apartment complex to natural-gas-fired combined heat and power system.
- Low Carbon Fuels
- We are conducting technical and policy research aimed at developing an effective regional strategy to reduce the carbon intensity of fuels used for transportation, heating, and electricity generation. This analysis focuses on the full-lifecycle carbon emissions from fuels and strives to be supportive of, and consistent with, similar work currently underway in California.
- Multipollutant Planning
- NESCAUM provides strategic technical and policy support for state multipollutant planning efforts that encompass greenhouse gases along with other air pollutants (e.g., ground level ozone, particulate matter, air toxics). NESCAUM also works prospectively to envision and assess the impacts of climate change on the future effectiveness of current air quality programs.
- Greenhouse gas emissions from the transportation sector are increasing rapidly in the Northeast. To address this issue, NESCAUM is helping member states evaluate cost-effective technologies and strategies for reducing GHG emissions from mobile sources. Projects include assessments of GHG-reducing light-duty and heavy-duty motor vehicle technologies.