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U.S. states have always played an important role in setting the nation’s energy and climate policies, each charting their own course for energy production, consumption, and environmental impact within the bounds of often inconsistent federal regulation. The Biden administration has pledged to shepherd in a new era of federal-level climate action in the United States with commitments to expand renewable energy and achieve carbon neutrality by 2050, a goal already adopted by a number of states. However, these plans will be subject to the limitations presented by a Congress that is deeply divided on climate change. For this reason, state-level policy will continue to play a critical role in shaping the country’s progress in addressing climate change.

The CSIS Energy Security and Climate Change Program created the Clean Resilient States Initiative to draw lessons from these state-level approaches to emissions reductions, clean economic growth, and energy resilience. These insights will inform recommendations aimed at advancing state progress in each of these areas as well as better integrating initiatives across them. To set the stage for the new initiative, this introductory paper discusses how key measures of emissions reductions, clean growth, and energy resilience may shape perceptions about state performance in addressing climate change imperatives.

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