WASHINGTON — Monday’s IPCC climate report shows that we are running out of time to take decisive action to avoid the most devastating effects of climate change. Already, 2021 has been marked by deadly and extreme climate disasters across the globe. While Republicans have fought against federal efforts on climate action, Democratic state legislatures have passed sweeping, decisive policies to address climate change and to try to stop the most disastrous outcomes.
“State legislatures pass the policies that will have the most impact on Americans’ day-to-day lives — and climate change is no exception,” said Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee President Jessica Post. “The devastating IPCC report shows that we have no time to waste if we want to ward off the worst outcomes. In the face of Republican federal obstruction, Democratic state legislatures have been taking action to address climate change before it’s too late. The key to bold progress on climate and so many other pressing issues is electing Democratic majorities in statehouses.”
But legislative Democrats didn’t need a devastating climate report to take action to protect the planet. Over the last decade, Democrats have made considerable progress enacting sweeping climate legislation, and in the last year alone Democratic majorities have built on this progress:
- Washington state enacted sweeping climate action and became the sixth state to ban certain types of Styrofoam products. They also advanced legislation to cap and reduce air pollution, create revenue for climate investments, and set regulations for toxic and pollutant substances.
- In Virginia, Democrats passed a clean economy bill that will begin to end the state’s reliance on fossil fuel power sources, implement a timeline for 100 percent renewable energy sources, charge companies penalties for not meeting those standards and join the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative. This makes Virginia the first southern state to have a 100 percent clean energy standard.
- Colorado lawmakers, over the objections of Republicans who continue to doubt the existence of man-made climate change, moved to restrict greenhouse emissions, building off previous legislation to reduce pollution.
- After years of Republican stonewalling, Oregon Democrats were finally able to pass one of the most aggressive timelines in the country for moving to 100 percent clean energy sources this year.
- The Hawaii legislature became the first state in the country to officially declare a climate emergency. In doing so, the legislature requested that state organizations collaborate with groups working to quell the devastating impacts of climate change and to slow the rising global temperature.
- Connecticut set energy storage standards this year and the state’s Department of Energy and Environmental Protection presented a plan to get the state to 100 percent zero-carbon energy by 2040. Connecticut joined seven states, all run by Democrats, to set energy storage targets, which are key to ensuring reliability and flexibility for power grids.
- Nevada lawmakers passed a clean energy bill that will increase funding for electric vehicle infrastructure and speed up the development of the “Greenlink Nevada” transmission upgrade. This legislation will serve to help advance the state’s aim to reach 100 percent renewable energy by 2050.