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As Trump Moves to Reverse Emissions Policies, States Step In to Advance Them

As Trump Moves to Reverse Emissions Policies, States Step In to Advance Them

Just hours after President Trump’s Rose Garden speech in June announcing plans to withdraw from the 2015 Paris climate agreement, the governors of three states — California, Washington, and New York — announced their remedy. They formed the U.S. Climate Alliance, and called on other states to join them in continuing to push ahead on fighting climate change.

“It only took two nanoseconds,” Washington Governor Jay Inslee said in an interview with Yale Environment 360. “We heard the president wanted to run up the white flag of surrender. We wanted to send a strong message to the world: We’re not going to surrender.”

The Trump administration was already in the midst of an aggressive effort to roll back nearly every climate change initiative of President Barack Obama, including the Clean Power Plan, designed to reduce emissions from the nation’s electricity sector 32 percent below 2005 levels by 2030. In Virginia, Governor Terry McAuliffe responded by ordering state officials to draft a rule to create a cap-and-trade program for carbon pollution from the state’s power sector. “Virginia cannot and will not stand idly by while the federal government abdicates its role,” he said.

In the void created by Trump, states are stepping up to become bigger players in the climate battle, both individually and by joining together. The U.S. Climate Alliance, which has grown to include 14 states and Puerto Rico, plans to collaborate on a broad range of greenhouse gas-cutting initiatives, such as creating new mechanisms for financing clean-energy projects, updating electric grids to better accommodate wind and solar power, improving construction standards to reduce electricity use by buildings, and hastening the transition to electric vehicles. The alliance states also plan to boost communities’ resilience to the more damaging natural disasters that are a consequence of climate change, including mapping the risks posed by sea level rise, storm surge, and extreme precipitation.

These efforts will add to momentum already underway in alliance states, such as California’s recent extension of its economy-wide cap-and-trade program and a proposal by nine Eastern states to continue their Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) until 2030. RGGI states have cut electricity-related greenhouse gas emissions nearly in half since 2009, and under the proposal, they would further reduce greenhouse gas emissions from electricity 30 percent below 2020 levels by 2030.

Without federal leadership, such state-level initiatives have become much more important, both for constraining carbon emissions and for discouraging other countries from following Trump’s lead. “The way I think they’re most significant is as a signal to the rest of the world,” says Robert Stavins, a Harvard University professor of environmental economics. “What would be disastrous is if China, India, and Brazil … decide to be less ambitious, rescind, or drop out.”

More: As Trump Retreats, States Are Joining Forces on Climate Action

 

 Source: IEEFA

BY: Yale 360:

LINK:  read:http://ieefa.org/trump-moves-reverse-emissions-policies-states-step-advance/

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Washington Governor Jay Inslee (center) flanked by then-Vermont Governor Peter Shumlin (left) and California Governor Jerry Brown at the Paris climate summit in 2015.

Washington Governor Jay Inslee (center) flanked by then-Vermont Governor Peter Shumlin (left) and California Governor Jerry Brown at the Paris climate summit in 2015. COP Paris/Flickr

 

Past and future greenhouse gas emissions reductions by states in the U.S. Climate Alliance compared to other states.

Past and future greenhouse gas emissions reductions by states in the U.S. Climate Alliance compared to other states. U.S. Climate Alliance

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New EPA Climate Change Website Doesn’t Mention ‘Climate Change’

 

In the Trump administration’s ongoing efforts to pretend that climate change doesn’t exist, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has made dramatic changes to a website catered to helping states, local and tribal governments learn about global warming and how prepare and respond to the impacts of our hot new world, according to a new analysis from the watchdog group Environmental Data and Governance Initiative (EDGI).

As you can see in the screenshot above, the website site was previously titled “Climate and Energy Resources for State, Local, and Tribal Governments.” Now, it’s called, “Energy Resources for State, Local, and Tribal Governments.” Fifteen mentions of the term “climate change” were scrubbed from the original main page alone, and the old epa.gov/statelocalclimate URL even redirects to epa.gov/statelocalenergy.


But that’s not the only change—the old site consisted of about 380 pages of content, while the new site consists of about 175. The current website leaves out vital resources including information on how local governments can invest in clean energy, curb emissions and adapt to extreme weather conditions.

EDGI, which has been closely tracking changes to federal websites since President Trump took office, noted that this is the first example of returned content since the EPA began overhauling its climate change website on April 28.

“Large portions of climate resources that were formerly found on the previous website have not been returned, and thus have ultimately been removed from the current EPA website (though many of these resources can still be found in the January 19 snapshot of the EPA website),” the organization explained. “The new website launch was done without an accompanying news release and the decision not to include particular climate resources was not explained.”

As EDGI pointed out, “The continued removal of Web content makes it more difficult for the public and for state, local, and tribal governments to access climate-related Web resources. Moreover, without clear notice from the EPA explaining its decision to remove information and resources, website users may be confused as to why the removals were necessary: was the removed content inaccurate or is there some other kind of justified change in priority or policy? This lack of transparency in the EPA’s website overhaul process harms the public’s understanding of our government’s operations and is a concerning indicator for the possible future mishandling of Web resources to come.”

Gina McCarthy, former EPA administrator under President Obama, criticized the website overhaul.

“There is no more significant threat than climate change and it isn’t just happening to people in far-off countries—it’s happening to us,” she said in a statement to the New York Times. “It is beyond comprehension that EPA would ever purposely limit and remove access to information that communities need to save lives and property. Clearly, this was not a technical glitch, it was a planned shutdown.”

The EPA did not respond to the Times’ requests for comment on the EDGI report.

 LINK: https://www.ecowatch.com/epa-climate-website-2498932391.html?utm_source=EcoWatch+List&utm_campaign=35870c6cf5-EMAIL_CAMPAIGN&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_49c7d43dc9-35870c6cf5-86118937

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