From AP - News Headlines -

Advocate: States Sometimes Top Federal Government in Environmental Protection

As world leaders discuss climate change at a summit in Copenhagen, environmental advocates say Illinois and other states can be -- and, in cases, are -- policy leaders.

There's international pressure on the United States to adopt stricter carbon emissions standards to combat global warming. It's a policy Brian Granahan, an attorney with Environment Illinois, supports. But even as a debate continues with the federal government, he says the U.S. is making progress.

"When it comes to America's response to global warming, what's happening on Capitol Hill, while it tends to dominate the news, it's really only half the story," Granahan said. "States have great power to reduce global warming pollution within their borders. And many states are using that power to implement clean energy policies that rival those anywhere in the world."

Granahan says Illinois is a prime example. The state will require electric utilities to get a quarter of their load from renewable sources. A new state law requires new homes be constructed according to an energy efficient building code.

Critics question how much good standards aimed at climate change will do, especially if they come at the detriment of the state's, and the nation's, business climate.