State leadership is leading the way in action against climate change.
Climate change is a fast growing concern.
As wildfires blaze hotter and hurricanes grow stronger, climate change is quickly becoming a top priority for voters. More so than any election in history, climate action was on the ballot on November 3. It is no secret that the current administration did not take a stance against climate change. This blasé approach to the climate has encouraged individual states to take it upon themselves to lead the nation in strong action against climate change. With a new administration on the way in with a bold vision for climate action, the combination of the two leaderships gives hope for a better environmental future.
The States that are leading the way.
In October 2020, Arizona utility regulators adopted one of the nation’s boldest climate action targets: regulations that, once approved, will require 100 percent clean electricity throughout the state by 2050. Arizona’s plan also includes interim targets for a 50 percent reduction in carbon emissions by 2032 and 75 percent by 2040. Proactive climate action provides opportunity for Arizona, which has been hit by increasingly excessive droughts and wildfires over the last decade but which is also one of the country’s sunniest states, ranking fifth for solar installation.
With growing wildfires over the past several years, climate change is very important to Colorado residents and its government. In June 2019, Colorado enacted legislation that requires a 90 percent reduction in carbon emissions by 2050. This same legislation also mandates that large investor-owned electricity utilities must reduce their emissions by 80 percent by 2030. It also lays out a plan to move the state to 100 percent renewable energy by 2040. This last part of the legislation is one of the country’s most aggressive timelines for clean electricity. Colorado’s climate legislation also centers community support and good job creation through its newly created Office of Just Transition, whose goal is to ensure that the communities and workers most affected by a transition off of fossil fuels receive targeted funding and access to job training programs.
Michigan has been experiencing its own effects of climate change in the form of heavy rainfalls and flooding. As a result, Michigan joined the U.S. Climate Alliance, committing the state strong to climate action. In September 2020, Gov. Whitmer went a step further and signed an executive order committing Michigan to carbon neutrality statewide by 2050. This is on top of the dozens of cities that have already taken it upon themselves to cut GHG emissions and increase dependency on renewable energy sources.
The list continues...
The list continues in our next blog, where we look at additional states making a stand for climate change.