US State Policy Analysis and Modeling

What It Is

RMI supports state-level policymakers, advocates, and researchers by developing credible, rigorous, and accessible analysis to help drive informed climate action. We also support US states in building a sustainable, equitable, and inclusive future for their residents while reducing emissions in line with science-based targets to limit warming to 1.5°C.

Why It Matters

US national climate policy must encompass all levels of government and civil society if we are to decarbonize the economy at the speed and scale necessary to limit warming to 1.5°C. States are critical to subnational climate action, including:

  • Pushing the boundaries of clean energy and climate action by testing new policies, programs, and technologies that can lead to models and best practices for broader application
  • Contextualizing ambitious climate action to the unique economic, environmental, and political realities of each state
  • Accelerating rollout and implementation of ambitious climate plans, policies, and programs.
State action will more effective and durable if it is informed by data and analysis that helps focus climate action on high-impact policies and actions that are aligned with a 1.5°C ambition.

What We Are Doing

In partnership with Energy Innovation, we are developing and releasing open-access, state-level versions of the Energy Policy Simulator, a web-based policy planning tool that allows users to design policy scenarios and model economic, emissions, and health outcomes. We engage a diverse and inclusive network of stakeholders in each state to support use of the tools and co-create solutions that advance economy-wide deep decarbonization.

Who's Involved

The State Policy Analysis and Modeling initiative is supported by Bloomberg Philanthropies. In addition to partnering with Energy Innovation on development of the Energy Policy Simulator (see above), we work with a diverse network of policymakers and advocates at the state-level to support their analytical needs.


Colorado Induced Travel Calculator

This calculator allows users to estimate the vehicle miles traveled (VMT) induced annually as a result of adding general-purpose, high-occupancy-vehicle (HOV), or high-occupancy toll (HOT) lane miles to roadways managed in Colorado’s urbanized areas. It also allows users to estimate the subsequent emissions impact.

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State Decarbonization Analysis with the Energy Policy Simulator

The Energy Policy Simulator (EPS) is an open-source model for estimating the environmental, economic, and human health impacts of hundreds of climate and energy policies.

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If You Build It, the Cars (and the Pollution) Will Come

Colorado plans to expand highways by almost 200 new lane-miles over the next decade. RMI analysis suggests this could increase driving and pollution at the scale of adding 70,000 more cars to Colorado roads every year, running counter to Colorado’s robust climate and transportation policy goals.

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Democratizing Data

As we enter the spring of 2021, we are already well into the decisive decade. By 2030, the United States needs to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 50–65 percent below 2005 levels to limit climate change to 1.5°C of warming. Fortunately, after four years of a leadership vacuum at the federal level, the Biden-Harris administration is already moving to enact sweeping federal policies to rapidly drive down emissions.

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