These four states win on climate. And that’s not all you’d expect

The adoption of the non -partisan infrastructure law and then the inflation reduction law released almost half a trillion dollar for combating climate change in 2022.

Joe Biden signs the Inflation Reduction Act. (Getty)

But when the control over the congress has been split up again, hope for climate protection measures is shifting back to the states.

“It is now due to the states to use the opportunities made possible by the inflation reduction act,” says Steve Cochran, head of state affairs at the Environmental Defense Fund.

Almost half of the US states have undertaken to reduce the greenhouse gas pollution in accordance with the promise of the nation as part of the Paris Agreement.

If these states redeem these promises, the country as a whole could almost halve the so -called emission gap – the difference between where the emissions go now and where we need it to stabilize the climate.

Here are four states to watch in 2023:

Pennsylvania: He will, right?

Last spring, Pennsylvania wrote history by producing fossil fuels that completed fossil fuels that completed regulations for the regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, a cross-state cross-state emission limitation and investment program that significantly reduces climate pollution by the energy sector.

Pennsylvania Governor Josh Shapiro was elected in 2022. (Associated Press)

Attack and kicking special interests for fossil fuels, the then governor Tom Wolf (D) needed almost three years to win this victory.

But the saga is far from over. The rules are challenged several times before state courts, and Pennsylvania cannot officially take part in the program or benefit from the cases.

All eyes are now on newly elected Governor Josh Shapiro (D) to get this important regulation across the finish line.

That means defending him vigorously in court and then implementing the plan swiftly. During the campaign, governor Shapiro committed himself to strict climate goals again and indicated that he would evaluate Rggi after taking office.

Participation in RGGI would reduce carbon loads by power plants by around 188 million tons in the next 10 years and save more than 630 lives thanks to clean air.

New York: Go all out

New York has long been a leader when it comes to climate action. But the Empire State is not resting on its laurels.

Two and a half years ago, New York passed an ambitious climate law that obliges the state to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 85 % by 2050. Now Gov. Kathy Hochul (D) has revealed how her government intends to get there: economy-wide cap-and-invest program.

Kathy Hochul took over as governor in 2021 and was re-elected in 2022. (Getty)

The program would determine a falling border or “upper limit” for carbon pollution by the largest sources of pollution from the state and invoice the companies any ton that pollute them under this border. The income from the program would invest in efforts to reduce climate pollution, for example in the installation of charging stations for electric vehicles and the weathering of buildings.

Importantly, 40% of these investments are earmarked for disadvantaged communities.

California and Washington have similar programs, but New York has the opportunity, through collaboration and inclusion, to create an innovative model that puts equity at the heart of programming. However, the devil is in the details, and by 2023 they will be hammered out.

California: leader of the pack

In 2023, the wave of historic climate laws that California passed last year will officially go into effect.

Last fall, in a legislative frenzy, California passed some of the country’s most aggressive climate measures in history. While most other governments knock on the shoulder because they want to reach net zero by 2050, California has undertaken to achieve this goal by 2045.

Wind turbines at Altamont Pass Wind Farm overlook the homes and vineyards of Livermore, California. (Aurora photos)

This year, the Golden State is also expected to tighten limits on emissions as part of its cap-and-trade program to ensure the state meets its new climate goals.

Importantly, the new law requires direct emissions to be reduced by at least 85% to meet this target. That means California won’t just have to rely on carbon removal or carbon credits to balance its carbon checkbook.

At the same time, California is preparing for a future that will almost inevitably involve the use of carbon capture technology as part of the climate stabilization solution.

Everyone will be watching as California implements its new law that provides a framework for the responsible use of carbon capture technologies. These include banning the underground injection of carbon dioxide when the sole purpose is to extract even more fossil fuels, and ensuring that communities already overwhelmed by pollution are protected as the race begins to put carbon dioxide back into the ground bring ground.

Louisiana: Out with the old, in with the new

Louisiana is more frequently found on lists of states involved in lawsuits against federal climate action than on lists to watch for progress on climate change. It’s a deep red state with a Democratic governor and a front row seat facing the devastating effects of climate change.

But last December there was a major reshuffle at the obscure but powerful five-man Public Service Commission, which regulates state utilities and decides what energy infrastructure gets built and how much feepayers have to pay.

Davante Lewis is the newest commissioner of the Louisiana Public Service Commission. (Davante Lewis)

Local community groups, tired of the unreliable service and volatile rates, deposed Commissioner Lambert Boissiere III, who had served for nearly two decades. The new incumbent, political newcomer Davante Lewis, has pledged to help set a new course for Louisiana, currently the nation’s bottom for renewable energy generation. He has vowed to push for renewable energy expansion, create a bill of rights for ratepayers and ban commissioners from accepting political donations from the companies they regulate.

Utility giant Entergy helped fund Lewis’ opponent’s campaign. The commission has long been an obstacle to Louisiana’s transition to renewable energy, but with a majority of commissioners now interested in steering Louisiana in a cleaner direction, 2023 could bring real change.