U.S. Climate Alliance State Leadership
Highlights from recent Alliance state climate leadership announcements
- Carbon pricing
- Climate justice
- Commission action
- Congressional testimony
- Energy efficiency
- Executive Order
- GHG inventories
- GHG targets
- Green bank
- Grid moderinization
- Lead by example
- Natural & working lands
- New Jersey
- New Mexico
- New York
- North Carolina
- Oil & natural gas
- Power sector
- Puerto Rico
- Rhode Island
Puerto Rico Governor Ricardo Rosselló signed the Climate Change Mitigation, Adaption and Resiliency Law of Puerto Rico, which establishes clear goals, metrics and deadlines to address the devastating effects of climate change.
“Climate change is real, and is the biggest threat to our way of life. This is the issue of our generation – the time for discussion is over, now is the time for action”, said Rosselló.
The new law instructs the government and its instrumentalities to adopt measures aimed at transitioning the current energy model to one powered solely by renewable or alternative sources, effectively banning coal and other damaging fossil fuels by 2050.
“Our commitment is to transition to 100% renewable sources by 2050, achieving 40% by 2025, essentially reducing 50% carbon emissions in the next five years”, the governor said.
The new law promotes better use of electricity with the intention of reducing consumption at least one percent a year until 2030. In order to battle deforestation, the government will plant 500,000 native trees within five years. The law also calls for a multisectoral recycling effort to be established with the goal of reducing solid waste on the island.
Connecticut is bucking a national trend of disparity when it comes to solar adoption among communities of color, according to figures released by the Connecticut Green Bank. The rise is due to Green Bank’s successful efforts to make solar energy more accessible and affordable for homeowners in communities of color and low-to-moderate income (LMI) households by intentionally engaging these traditionally underserved communities.
In 2015, the Green Bank and its Board of Directors addressed an observed income disparity in solar adoption by adding special incentives for low and moderate income households to the residential solar program, which quickly accelerated solar adoption in low and moderate income communities. Recent analysis shows that this has also been extremely successful in reaching communities of color in the state. Today, on a per owner-occupied household basis, there are 86% more RSIP installations in majority Black neighborhoods, 18% more in majority Hispanic neighborhoods, and 20% more in No Majority race neighborhoods as compared to majority White neighborhoods.
Governor Andrew M. Cuomo announced that New York State is building on its nation-leading actions to ensure cleaner air for New Yorkers and reduce climate-altering greenhouse gas emissions by banning coal-fired power plants. The Governor announced that the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation has adopted final regulations to require all power plants in New York to meet new emissions limits for carbon dioxide (CO2), a potent greenhouse gas that contributes to climate change. The regulations, a first-in-the-nation approach to regulating carbon emissions, will achieve the Governor's goal to end the use of coal in New York State power plants by the end of 2020.
"As our federal government continues to support the dying fossil fuel industry, deny climate change, and roll back environmental protections, New York is leading the nation with bold climate action to protect our planet and our communities," Governor Cuomo said. "With the adoption of these final regulations, we are taking yet another step toward a cleaner, greener, long-term energy solution to safeguard the environment for generations to come."
Governor Inslee signed a historic package of legislation to accelerate Washington’s transition to the clean energy future and take the biggest step ever towards meeting the state’s 2035 emissions reduction limits. This package will trigger large scale investments and growth across the economy, creating thousands of good-paying jobs while helping consumers reap the benefits of clean, affordable energy. The 2019 Clean Energy package helps launch a transformative effort to decarbonize every sector of Washington’s economy with policies including:
- the nation’s strongest statewide policy to transition to 100% clean electricity;
- a first-in-the-nation energy standard for commercial buildings;
- a carefully designed phase down of super-polluting chemicals; and
- aggressive incentives to electrify cars and busses and transition the nation’s largest ferry fleet to electric and electric-hybrid.
The New Mexico General Services Department is planning a $32 million project to improve the energy efficiency of state buildings in Santa Fe. The project will lead by example in many ways, but an especially crucial component is the inclusion of the state government’s first battery storage for solar power. The ability to store solar power goes a long way toward expanding this renewable energy source.
In addition to equipping buildings with solar power, the General Services Department project calls for lighting upgrades, improved heating and air conditioning systems, and other energy-efficiency work on 29 buildings. A separate initiative by the department includes buying the first electric vehicles for the government motor pool and installing charging stations in Santa Fe. The energy-efficiency upgrades won’t just reduce our carbon footprint; they’ll also cut down our bills. The contractor on the project guarantees that New Mexico will see a savings of $1.1 million a year.
Governor Janet Mills announced that she has introduced bipartisan legislation to create the Maine Climate Council. The Climate Council will develop the action plan and timetable to meet the state’s greenhouse gas reduction goals, to promote jobs and economic benefits for Maine people in the transition to a lower carbon economy, and to support the climate resiliency of Maine’s communities.
“Evidence continues to mount that the impacts of climate change are harming our state and nation. Even the administration in Washington has joined the chorus of concerned scientists as the EPA last week warned,” said Governor Mills. “Today, we take another step in combating this threat, expanding our clean energy economy, and investing in our future by creating the Maine Climate Council and marshaling experts across the state to take urgent action. I look forward to working with the Legislature to pass this bill and ensure that the Climate Council can begin its work on building a better, brighter future for our state.”
The Rhode Island Infrastructure Bank announced Monday the five municipalities that will participate in the initial round of its Municipal Resilience Program. Barrington, Portsmouth, South Kingstown, Warren and Westerly will lead shared-priority climate resilience program. The Municipal Resilience Program will provide technical assistance and the ability to apply for implementation funds. As part of the program, The Nature Conservancy will support municipalities in completing a climate vulnerability assessment and in creating a prioritized list of actionable plans and projects through the Community Resilience Building process, a scale-able collaborative process.
After completing the program, municipalities will be eligible to apply for implementation funds from the Rhode Island Infrastructure Bank. Municipalities also will be designated as a “Resilient Rhody Municipality” upon successful completion of the program. The RIIB said that it had committed $2 million over two years in grant funding for the first two rounds of the program to implement climate resilience projects based on needs identified in the program. Municipalities will be able to access funding from the infrastructure bank with a local match.
Rhode Island Governor Gina M. Raimondo joined state officials, the City of Woonsocket, RI Tree Council, American Forests, Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, National Grid, and other partners at a special event celebrating Arbor Day in Rhode Island. More than $650K in grants were announced for forestry projects that beautify urban areas, mitigate climate change, and improve public health in Rhode Island.
In recognition of Earth Week, the Baker-Polito Administration announced $1.6 million in state and federal grant funds for ecological restoration projects in the towns of Brookfield, Chicopee, Dartmouth, Mattapoisett, Newbury, and Pittsfield to support river and wetland habitat restoration and climate adaptation. These projects are also now designated as Priority Projects through the Department of Fish and Game’s (DFG) Division of Ecological Restoration (DER), making the projects eligible for technical services, including data collection, engineering, design work, permitting, project management and grants.
“Our Administration is pleased to support local dam removal and restoration projects that improve wildlife habitat and help communities better withstand flooding and future storms,” said Governor Charlie Baker. “These nature-based approaches build community resilience to the effects of extreme weather and are a key part of our approach to preparing for climate change.”
The New Mexico Environment Department (NMED) conducted nearly 100 regulatory inspections across the Permian Basin in southeastern New Mexico. The inspections were conducted to determine compliance with air quality regulations and permits and represented an unprecedented and collaborative effort undertaken alongside the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). A collateral benefit of complying with the rules and permits governing VOC emissions is a reduction in methane. Nearly one-third of methane emissions in the U.S. come from oil production and the production, transmission and distribution of natural gas. Methane is a potent greenhouse gas with a 20-year global warming potential more than 84 times that of carbon dioxide, according to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. NMED is undertaking a regulatory effort to limit methane emissions from the oil and natural gas sector pursuant to Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham’s executive order issued in January.
Connecticut Governor Ned Lamont announced that he has signed an executive order – his first since being sworn into office earlier this year – that directs executive branch state office buildings and vehicle fleets to become greener and more energy efficient through an expanded “Lead By Example” sustainability initiative aimed at reducing the state’s carbon footprint and reducing the cost of government operations. This includes meeting the state’s overall statutory goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 45 percent reduction from 2001 levels by 2030 and reducing waste disposal and water consumption by 25 percent and 10 percent, respectively, by 2030 from a defined baseline of 2020.
Governor Andrew M. Cuomo announced New Yorkers are buying electric vehicles at a record pace, with sales increasing by 63 percent in 2018. The number of electric vehicles on the road jumped to 36,854 in 2018, up from 24,551 in 2017. A new report also released today provides a new cost-benefit analysis showing increased deployment of electric vehicles in New York State could provide up to $5.1 billion in societal benefits, including monetary savings for both electric vehicle drivers and utility customers. Increasing the use of electric vehicles supports Governor Cuomo's Green New Deal, a nation-leading clean energy and jobs agenda that puts New York on a path to carbon neutrality and achieving the state's goal to reduce greenhouse gas emissions 40 percent by 2030.
The Washington State Legislature passed Governor Inslee’s 100 Percent Clean Energy bill, who stated “On this Earth Day, I couldn’t be more proud of the Legislature’s action to pass the country’s most forward looking clean energy bill. There are a number of other meaningful climate bills moving forward this legislative session, but more than any other, this bill will fundamentally transform Washington’s energy future and transition us to 100 percent clean energy. I look forward to signing this legislation and I thank Sens. Carlyle, Palumbo and Billig, and Reps. Tarleton and Fitzgibbon for their remarkable leadership.”
On Earth Day, Governor Steve Sisolak signed Senate Bill 358 into law, committing Nevada to raising its renewable portfolio standard (RPS) to 50% by 2030 and fulfilling a pledge he made in his State of the State address. Senate Bill 358 is sponsored by Sen. Chris Brooks (SD-03) and passed with unanimous bipartisan support out of both chambers of the Nevada Legislature.
“Renewable energy is a major cornerstone of my economic development plan, and this bill will put Nevada back on the path toward renewable energy leadership on a nationwide level and continue to bring well-paying jobs to our communities,” Governor Sisolak said. “Today, Nevada sent a message to the country and world that the Silver State is open for business as a renewable leader, and our commitment to growing our clean energy economy transcends party lines.”
The Virginia State Air Pollution Control Board approved a new regulation to reduce and cap carbon dioxide emissions (CO2) from large fossil fuel fired electric power generating facilities. This regulation when implemented will reduce carbon emissions from these facilities by 30 percent by 2030, with an initial cap of 28 million tons of CO2. Virginia will become the 12th state in the nation, and the first southern state, to regulate carbon pollution.
The State of Hawai’i today took a significant step towards launching its first-ever forest carbon sequestration program by selecting a standard to ensure a reliable and transparent process and to guarantee the environmental integrity of the credits resulting from it. Decades of uncontrolled grazing by goats, sheep, and cows have largely eliminated the original native forest. Reforesting the 4,700 acres of the Kahikinui Forest Reserve and the Nakula Natural Area Reserve on the leeward slopes of Haleakalā on Maui will withdraw an estimated 94,000 metric tons of carbon from the atmosphere while providing numerous other benefits to the people of Hawai‘i such as freshwater capture and storage, reef protection by reducing soil run-off, building habitat for endangered species, and decreased wildfire threats by removing fire-adapted invasive plants. Replanting efforts over the past three years have brought back over 250,000 native trees and shrubs.
The Washington State Department of Commerce has selected four proposed electric grid modernization projects to receive grants from the Washington Clean Energy Fund. “Washington’s leading utilities, along with their technology partners and customers, are transforming the nation’s electric grid. With these latest grants, our state Clean Energy Fund helps them move the industry closer to a low-carbon future,” said Gov. Jay Inslee, who launched the fund in 2013.
The California Air Resources Board (CARB) announced it would award $17 million to fund an innovative new statewide program aimed at making it cleaner, easier, healthier and cheaper for Californians to get from point A to point B. The new Clean Mobility Options for Disadvantaged Communities (Clean Mobility Options) program will create new opportunities for zero-emission car-sharing and ride-sharing, bike-sharing, and innovative public transit services like demand-responsive transit and mobility service partnerships in disadvantaged communities statewide. The program aims to help communities start their own smaller scale clean mobility programs by providing financial support and helping to coordinate partnerships and additional outside investment.
New Mexico Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham testified before the U.S. House Subcommittee on Energy & Mineral Resources in Santa Fe during an oversight hearing titled, “Oil and Gas Development: Impacts on Air Pollution and Sacred Sites.” In her testimony, Governor Lujan Grisham noted the pressing and consistent need to address the impacts of emissions, in particular over the course of the most recent decade of expansion in New Mexico.
Governor Andrew M. Cuomo announced up to $30 million is available to support projects to improve the resiliency, flexibility, and integration of renewable energy resources onto New York's electric grid. Project proposals will be evaluated based on how they improve overall grid performance, reduce energy costs and support the state's nation-leading clean energy goals to combat climate change. Modernizing the grid supports the Governor's proposed mandate for 70 percent renewable electricity by 2030 and goal to transition the state to a carbon-free power grid by 2040 as part of the Green New Deal.
Governor Ralph Northam has officially launched ConserveVirginia, Virginia’s first in the nation, data-driven, statewide, land conservation strategy that identifies high value lands and conservation sites across the Commonwealth of Virginia.
ConserveVirginia’s living “smart map” is the synthesis of 19 mapped data inputs, divided into six categories, each representing a different overarching conservation value. The categories are: Agriculture & Forestry; Natural Habitat & Ecosystem Diversity; Floodplains & Flooding Resilience; Cultural & Historic Preservation; Scenic Preservation; and Protected Landscapes Resilience. The categories contain more than five million acres of agricultural and forest lands. Outdoor recreation, including access for underserved communities, is a critical component of the strategy and will be a key focus across categories.
New York Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced the Independent Advisory Committee on Applied Climate Assessment is releasing a report after being disbanded by the federal government in 2017, and reconvened by the Governor in 2018. The report includes recommendations to help federal, state, and local governments, communities, and the private sector plan for the effects of climate change.
"While the federal government continues to deny climate change and ignore the dire need to strengthen the resilience of our communities, New York and the U.S. Climate Alliance are taking action," Governor Cuomo said. "Last year we proudly reconvened the advisory committee to put a spotlight on this global catastrophe, and this report will provide important recommendations to communities across the country as we work to address climate change."
The Oregon Department of Energy released a new tool, the Oregon Solar Dashboard, which shows the rapid expansion of solar facilities – both residential and utility-scale – in Oregon between 1999 and 2018. The Oregon Department of Energy developed the Oregon Solar Dashboard in partnership with regional utility, solar industry, and community partners.
Washington Governor Jay Inslee testified before the House Subcommittee on Environment & Climate Change at a hearing on “Lessons From Across the Nation: State and Local Action to Combat Climate Change.” In his testimony, Governor Inslee stated “I am here to tell you unequivocally that there are more jobs in fighting climate change than denying it. It’s time for the federal government to stop denying climate change and start embracing the clean energy jobs that come with bold, national climate action. Our country should seize this opportunity and tackle the most pressing and existential threat of our time.”
“Climate Alliance states have reduced emissions faster than the rest of the country, while growing our economies faster than the rest of the country. This shows that fighting climate change and growing strong economies happen hand in hand. And our states are continuing to step up our efforts.”
Joined by state lawmakers and renewable energy supporters, Governor Janet Mills today signed into law a bill that will help incentivize the long-awaited growth of the solar industry in Maine. LD 91 An Act to Eliminate Gross Metering, sponsored by Representative Seth Berry and signed by the governor, will reset the state’s metering policy for solar and ensure that consumers who produce electricity from solar panels will be fairly compensated for supplying excess energy back to the electric grid.
The Rhode Island Office of Energy Resources announced a new set of initiatives to encourage solar carports and solar projects located on brownfields.
"We have been listening to concerned citizens, business-owners, farmers, cities and towns, and environmental advocates about the need to encourage solar development on preferred sites such as closed landfills, former gravel pits and parking areas," said State Energy Commissioner Carol Grant. "We are pleased to announce the availability of funds for these special projects so that Rhode Island may continue adding new sources of renewable energy while preserving our forests and natural habitats."
New Mexico Environment Department released a new innovative and interactive methane map that shows methane emissions from oil and gas operations in New Mexico.
Coastal communities in North Carolina are still recovering from the impacts of extreme weather and flooding over the past two years. These communities face difficult decisions about how to deal with the damages from hurricanes, as well as long-term stressors like population growth and sea level rise. The N.C Division of Coastal Management created a new Coastal Adaptation and Resiliency website to help North Carolina’s coastal communities manage these challenges. These web resources were built to help local governments and communities in the 20 North Carolina counties designated as coastal counties under the Coastal Area Management Act. In support of Governor Cooper’s Executive Order 80 (a directive that calls for the development of a State Climate Risk and Resilience Plan by 2020), hazard forecasts, mapping tools, geospatial data, adaptation examples, funding opportunities and guidelines for policy planning are several of the tools available now.
Puerto Rico passed a bill to radically transform the island's economy with renewable energy as the central pillar. The territory’s legislature today approved Senate Bill 1121 (PS 1121), the Puerto Rico Energy Public Policy Act, which will set the island on a path to 100% renewable energy by 2050. The bill pushes the island to become a leader in clean energy technology that can better withstand future hurricanes and improve quality of life for Puerto Ricans. (Forbes). Governor Ricardo Rossello stated on twitter “I am a scientist. #ClimateChange is real. As a US citizen in Puerto Rico, we are experimenting those effects and challenges today. Recognizing this, we have set forth a plan that consists of 10 measures and have called it “Puerto Rico Pledge for Climate Change.”
New Mexico Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham signed into law a bill to increase the state’s renewable portfolio standard to 80% by 2040 & 100% carbon-free energy by 2045 for investor-owned utilities. The Energy Transition Act ensures greater renewable energy production while providing tens of millions of dollars of economic and workforce support for communities impacted by coal plant closures, as well as the development of renewable replacement power in San Juan County.