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In the new year, many states have passed new laws and introduced programs to reduce their carbon footprints and help the U.S. meet the goals of the Paris Climate Agreement.
Some of the most promising:
Massachusetts’ sweeping new climate legislation that overhauls climate programs, drives down greenhouse gas emissions with a requirement for net zero emissions by 2050, creates clean energy jobs, and protects frontline communities;
New Mexico broke ground on massive new wind farms to add 1000 megawatts of power as well as a new transmission line to distribute it.
Why this Matters: After President Trump systematically dismantled much of the United States’ federal climate protections, states have stepped up. Even after President-elect Biden’s administration begins to restore climate regulations at the federal level, these state programs will still prove vital.
Cap and Trade Scaling Up
The “regional” carbon trading program will generate about $3 billion from commitments by large gas and oil companies to purchase pollution offsets. Participating states are expected to use that money to invest in more just, less polluting transportation options. This program is a major one for the east coast, encompassing Massachusetts, Connecticut, D.C., and Rhode Island. Additionally, eight states — Delaware, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Vermont, and Virginia— signed a Memorandum of Understanding that said they will enact a similar initiative.
Massachusetts Bans Sale of New Gas-Powered Vehicles by 2035. Last week the state announced a mandate that no new gas-powered cars can be sold after 2035 in an effort to curb emissions. Massachusetts has become only the second state to enact such a policy, after California. The state also introduced a wide-ranging climate bill, which set a 2050 net-zero greenhouse gas emissions limit and increased the requirements for offshore wind energy procurement bringing the statewide total to 5,600 megawatts.
New Mexico has introduced a proposal to decrease venting and flaring in the state’s energy sector. In this proposal, gas and oil operators would have to reduce their waste by a fixed amount every year to achieve an ultimate gas capture rate of 98% by December 2026. The state is also moving forward with the largest single-phase construction of renewable power in U.S. history, with a series of new wind farms and a transmission line.
On Monday, The New York Times (NYT) and The Wall Street Journal (WSJ) published extensive editorials on the climate provisions of President Biden’s American Jobs Plan. The two headlines say it all. The NYT’s read “Trump Abandoned the Climate. This Is Biden’s Moment,” while the WSJ’s called the plan “The Green New Deal, In Disguise.” […]
by Amy Lupica, ODP Staff Writer Ahead of President Biden’s virtual Earth Day climate summit, more than 300 businesses and investors are urging the president to set ambitious 2030 emissions goals. Since rejoining the Paris agreement on his first day in office, Biden’s administration has yet to release an updated Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) but has promised to do so before […]
by Amy Lupica, ODP Staff Writer Last Thursday, Congresswoman Teresa Leger Fernández (D-NM) introduced the Orphaned Wells Cleanup and Jobs Act of 2021 which would authorize nearly $8 billion in grant funding for abandoned oil and gas well cleanup projects across the nation. Methane emissions from abandoned wells threaten to derail President Biden’s climate goals, but dozens of […]
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