Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Trump, some states going in opposite directions on climate

Wind farm in Colorado City, Tex. Texas  has more wind power than any other state.CreditSpencer Platt/Getty Images

Tatiana Schlossberg writes for The New York Times

The incoming Trump administration appears determined to reverse much of what President Obama has tried to achieve on climate and environment policy.

In position papers, agency questionnaires and the résumés of incoming senior officials, the direction is clear — an about-face from eight years of policies designed to reduce climate-altering emissions and address the effects of a warming planet. The Republican-led Congress appears to welcome many of these changes.

But mayors and governors — many of them in states that supported President-elect Donald J. Trump — say they are equally determined to continue the policies and plans they have already adopted to address climate change and related environmental damage, regardless of what they see from Washington.

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“With a federal government that’s hostile to climate action, more and faster climate action work from cities, states and businesses will be required to stay anywhere near on track with our carbon pollution goals,” said Sam Adams, the former mayor of Portland, Ore., and current director of the World Resources Institute United States.

“In many cases, the solutions that help address climate change are what you have to do anyway in a city — transit options so the city doesn’t get gridlocked, which reduces greenhouse gas emissions and unlocks a tremendous amount of economic competitiveness because you don’t have thousands of people stalled in traffic,” Mr. Adams added.

In last month’s election, Seattle, Los Angeles and Columbus, Ohio, voted to expand mass transit. Portland, Ore., which many say is the most environmentally minded city in the country, began a new municipal waste program a few years ago, resulting in higher recycling and composting rates, and smaller amounts of trash headed to landfills. Miami Beach is raising roadbeds and building flood walls to hold back the rising seas.

California, led by the Democratic Gov. Jerry Brown, has adopted a cap-and-trade program, which limits carbon dioxide emissions and sets up a market for companies to buy and sell carbon allowances, so companies can meet or come under that carbon dioxide limit. The state has set one of the nation’s most ambitious climate targets — to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions to 40 percent below 1990 levels by 2030. Hawaii is planning to use 100 percent renewable energy by 2045.

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