States Take the Lead January 27, 2011 : 5:15 PM

With Senate's failure to act to solve the climate crisis, states have now taken the lead:

“States are acting individually and collectively:”

“Massachusetts announced last month that it will cut greenhouse gas emissions 25%, from 1990 levels, by 2020. "It's very doable," says Richard Sullivan, the state's secretary of energy and environmental affairs. "When you focus on energy efficiency, you can go a long way."

“This year, the state will help fund ultra-efficient retrofits for some homes and give them a miles-per-gallon type efficiency label. It's working to allow auto insurers to base their rates partly on a car's annual mileage.”

“Three regional groups, representing at least 22 U.S. states, agreed last year to work together on "cap and trade" programs. These programs cap total emissions but allow businesses that pollute a lot to buy emissions credits from those that pollute less.”

“The regional groups include the Midwestern Greenhouse Gas Reduction Accord, signed by 10 governors, and the Western Climate Initiative, in which California, New Mexico, British Columbia, Ontario and Quebec are slated next January to begin their own "cap and trade" program.”

This work is both necessary and a huge step forward. But until we act together, both as a nation and as a planet, we will never get the climate crisis under control.