A Changing Climate for State Policy-Making Regarding Climate Change

Urban skyline with earth brown to green signalling climate change

If significant steps are not taken to rein in global warming, the damage will reduce the U.S. economy by as much as 10 percent by the end of the century.

February 18, 2020
Sheila McCafferty Harvey - Gravel2Gavel Construction & Real Estate Law Blog

Issued by 13 federal agencies, the 2018 Fourth National Climate Assessment presented a stark warning on the consequences of climate change for the United States. The report predicts that if significant steps are not taken to rein in global warming, the damage will reduce the U.S. economy by as much as 10 percent by the end of the century. The report, which was mandated by Congress and made public by the White House, is notable not only for the precision of its calculations and bluntness of its conclusions—the 1,656-page assessment lays out the devastating effects of a changing climate on the economy—but also in how it conflicts with President Donald Trump’s environmental deregulation plan. U.S. policy efforts at the state and local levels are ramping up to address this complex topic. These include:

Targeting Net-Zero Emissions. Hailed as the most aggressive climate law in the nation, New York State’s Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act are targeting 100 percent carbon-free electricity by 2040 and economy-wide, net-zero carbon emissions by 2050. California set a statewide target to reach carbon neutrality by 2045.

Reducing and Renewing. New Mexico established a statewide goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 45 percent below 2005 levels by 2030. Nevada passed a bill to increase the amount of electricity it gets from renewable resources to 50 percent by 2030.

Ms. Harvey may be contacted at sheila.harvey@pillsburylaw.com



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