The Chesapeake Climate Action Network was officially launched on July 1, 2002, with a seed grant from the Rockefeller Brothers Fund. For more than a year prior to that date, Director Mike Tidwell was organizing and advocating around global warming issues in the Washington Metropolitan Area. Principle among these early activities was the conversion of Tidwell's home almost entirely to renewable energy and the initiation of Saturday open houses every other month. These clean energy open houses drew early supporters to the cause and helped launch CCAN’s email and networking database.
Since its inception, the Chesapeake Climate Action Network has been central to every climate and clean energy victory in Maryland, Virginia, and the District of Columbia. Working with a large and growing network of allies, the group has helped pass the Offshore Wind Bill in Maryland, one of the strongest statewide carbon caps in the country in Maryland, Clean Cars bills in Maryland and the District of Columbia, renewable energy standard bills in Maryland, Virginia, and the District of Columbia. Through litigation, the Chesapeake Climate Action Network has helped reduce mercury pollution from a coal power plant in Wise County, Virginia, by 94 percent. The organization was also instrumental in shutting down several of the region's coal plants and preventing the construction of new fossil fuel projects.