Many states across the country have drafted, adopted, and implemented climate action plans. Some states have done this as part of their commitment to regional initiatives. In addition to making the progress we need now to address the climate crisis, these state level efforts might just spur federal action, too.
How does state climate action take shape? In many cases, state-level policy makers and stakeholders enlist the assistance of external groups to help them determine an appropriate list of actions and policies the state could adopt, to achieve climate goals. Often this process begins with an inventory of the state's greenhouse gas emissions across sectors, and then the adoption of reduction targets. It's quite similar to how actions arise at larger scales. Groups such as the Center for Climate Strategies come in and meet with relevant state stakeholders to scope inventories and devise strategies for emissions reduction and cost savings.
When the Trump Administration came into power and started the procedure to eventually withdraw the US from the Paris Climate Agreement and dismantled the Clean Power Plan, states took notice. Many had already been preparing for the coming Clean Power Plan requirements, and therefore weren't going to suddenly backtrack on those investments simply because the federal political winds had changed. States are often better at seeing the ancillary economic and environmental benefits, are moving forward as if the plan were still in place. In Pennsylvania, Governor Wolf signed an executive order in January 2019 to address climate change and conserve energy, and eventually signed an Executive Order joining RGGI in 2022.
What is your state doing? There are several websites providing information about state-level climate planning across the country. Find out if your state has a climate action plan!
- Center for Climate and Energy Solutions - This website allows you to click on states for their climate action plan status an provides links to the document.
- EPA Climate and Energy Resources for State, Local, and Tribal Governments - This archive of the EPA website offers information on state and local initiatives and resources. Though not part of the current EPA site, a wonderful resource!