President Trump’s decision to roll back environmental regulations leaves the future of the country’s battle against climate change in the hands of individual states. Despite prodding from California, experts say not enough is being done to meet U.S. obligations under the Paris agreement on global warming. Here’s a look at the policies that states have enacted so far.
Creating financial incentives to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, either through taxes or a permit system, has been a goal of environmentalists, but it’s failed to take root in many places. California’s policy applies to nearly the state’s entire economy, while a program on the East Coast only affects power plants.
Renewable energy requirements
A more popular strategy has been requiring certain percentages of electricity to come from renewable sources such as solar and wind. Twenty-nine states and the District of Columbia have created standards with various targets. For example, Hawaii wants 100% by 2014, California wants 50% by 2030 and Ohio wants 12.5% by 2027.
Low-carbon fuel standard
Only two states have created rules that require cleaner blends of gasoline to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
California has the unique ability to set tougher rules on vehicle emissions than federal standards, and other states can choose to follow its lead. A dozen have chosen to emulate California’s policies on greenhouse gas emissions from tailpipes.
Greenhouse gas targets
Several states have set goals for reducing greenhouse gas emissions in the coming years, either with laws or executive orders. The targets vary, but California and New York are among the most ambitious by aiming for 80% below 1990 levels by 2050. Some of the targets were set before Republicans took office and backed away from fighting climate change, such as in Florida.
Sources: Center for Climate and Energy Solutions, California Air Resources Board