The next four months may prove pivotal in America’s progress toward its 2030 climate goals under the Paris Agreement. Nearly every state is in the process of identifying or refining its plans for cutting emissions as part of the Inflation Reduction Act’s (IRA’s) Climate Pollution Reduction Grants (CPRG) program, which requires a preliminary plan in March. This program requires states to set near-term and long-term emissions reduction targets consistent with US commitments globally. To make their plans effective, states can identify climate targets that fit within an actionable, ambitious, and achievable (AAA) framework:
- Actionable: The targets reflect today’s emissions breakdown, rely on clear actions within the state’s control, and focus on specific emissions sources without including emissions sinks, such as existing forests that can be challenging to address.
- Ambitious: The state goals contribute a fair share to achieve national climate goals.
- Achievable: The state can move from where it is now to the target, on time, considering the deployment rates of different technologies within different sectors.
All three elements are critical for success and help state leaders avoid the trap of setting a target first and determining the best path to achievement later without examining if the target is appropriate for the geography or timeline. However, establishing AAA targets requires significant amounts of subsector-level data, projections, and the ability to model cross-sector interactions.
By using the state-level Energy Policy Simulator (EPS) models and applying the AAA framework, RMI has identified an emissions reduction target that accounts for each state’s unique makeup and contribution. These 2030 targets vary widely, reflecting the wide range of near-term potential for deep emissions cuts. These dynamics are critical to consider when prioritizing action across the country, including in the award of CPRG funds.