Individual States Taking Action Against Climate Change
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In the U.S., individual states have the ability to decide how to take action on climate change. We’ll highlight the actions of the U.S. Climate Alliance and what a few individual states are doing to fight climate change. We encourage you to find out what your state is doing to adapt to and mitigate the effects of the climate crisis.
U.S. Climate Alliance
The U.S. Climate Alliance is a bipartisan coalition of governors of 24 states and Puerto Rico committed to reducing greenhouse gas emissions, in line with the Paris Agreement. The Alliance was formed in 2017 after former President Donald Trump announced his intention to withdraw the U.S. from the Paris Agreement. Each member state of the Alliance commits to the following goals:
- Reducing collective net GHG emissions at least 26-28% by 2025 and 50-52% by 2030, both below 2005 levels
- Collectively achieving net-zero emissions as soon as practicable, and no later than 2050
The member states also commit to advancing new and existing greenhouse gas reduction policies, building resilience to the impacts of climate change, and promoting clean energy development. Equity and justice are also key pillars of the Alliance’s climate action. And member states must report their progress, including when the world comes together to evaluate progress toward the goals of the Paris Agreement.
As an island state, Hawaii has a vested interest in combating climate change and the sea level rise associated with it. In response to the Paris Agreement, Hawaii created the Hawaii Climate Change Mitigation and Adaptation Commission. This commission focuses on two main areas: reducing emissions from ground transportation and adapting to sea level rise. Here are some highlights of what Hawaii is doing to work toward what they call Climate Ready Hawaii:
- 100% net-zero operating emissions government buildings by 2030
- Conserve at least 30% of land and coastal waters by 2030
- Commit to a just transition that provides for sustainable livelihoods for those reliant on the fossil fuel economy in the shift to more sustainable systems and practices
Hawaii has also committed to being carbon neutral and using 100% renewable energy by 2045.
Maryland is also a member of the Transportation and Climate Initiative (TCI), a coalition of 13 Northeast and Mid-Atlantic states and Washington, D.C. with the goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions from the transportation sector. The group supports the development of clean vehicles, building sustainable communities, and exploring regional policies for emissions reductions.
Governor Evers signed an Executive Order in 2019 setting a goal of 100% carbon-free energy by 2050. The order also created the state Office of Sustainability and Clean Energy to promote clean energy use across the state. Wisconsin has allocated $15 million to replacing public transit vehicles and $10 million for electric vehicle infrastructure from its Volkswagen Settlement funding.
One Last Thing
Other states like Massachusetts, Nevada, New York, California, Washington, Virginia, Oregon, and Maine have all passed legislation to get to 100% carbon-free electricity by at least 2050,
You can learn more about the specifics of what each state in the Alliance is doing to fight climate change. And be sure to see if your state is in the Alliance – if it isn’t – what is it doing to address the climate crisis?