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.
“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…
…Republican mayors also govern some cities that are especially vulnerable to climate change. James C. Cason, the mayor of Coral Gables, Fla., is working to protect the city from some of the flooding it is already experiencing and to prepare it for more flooding that will most likely accompany rising sea levels. Florida has a Republican governor, Rick Scott, who has questioned the cause and extent of climate change, but that has not stopped Mr. Cason and other Republican mayors in South Florida from making pragmatic decisions on the issue.
… In most states, governors and legislatures have the authority to regulate the two biggest sources of emissions: power plants and transportation.
States can set automotive fuel-efficiency standards, and in the case of California, effectively set them for the whole country, experts said. Twenty-nine states require that a certain percentage of their electricity comes from renewable sources, known as a portfolio standard, and another eight have voluntary portfolio standards or targets. In addition to California, nine other states, grouped in the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, known as R.G.G.I., and 17 governors, mostly from that group of 29, have also signed the Governors’ Accord for a New Energy Future, which commits their states to certain sustainability goals…
…Republican-led states, which may not be favorable to climate policy, have still achieved meaningful progress, especially when it comes to renewable energy, because of the economics of the wind and solar industries. Texas, for instance, has more wind power than any other state, largely a product of deregulating the utility market, but also of subsidies from the federal government and tax credits….
…A network of local governments, pension funds, faith organizations, philanthropies and wealthy individuals representing $5.2 trillion in assets have committed to — and in some cases already started — divesting from fossil fuel companies, according to a report released on Monday.
That’s a huge sum of money for a movement that started just four years ago on U.S. college campuses and its growth is likely to continue as the world strives to reach its climate goals.
“It’s pretty clear that the growth trajectory is enormous,” said Ellen Dorsey, the executive director of the Wallace Global Fund. In the past 15 months alone, the assets represented by the fossil fuel divestment movement have doubled.
…Those divesting include Norway’s sovereign wealth fund, Germany-based financial services giant Allianz, and Amalgamated Bank, which in September became the first U.S bank to divest. Private businesses represent $4.6 trillion in assets being divested, nearly 90 percent of the overall total.
Dorsey said that the Paris Agreement, which was finalized one year ago on Monday and went into effect last month, raises the stakes of divestment and also sends a message that more money will need to flow into clean energy if the world is to stay below the 2°C threshold. That’s led firms representing $1.2 trillion in assets in the report to move toward a divest-invest strategy of taking the money they’re pulling out fossil fuels and putting it into clean energy…
Kickstarting the carbon capture and storage industry with a state-backed company will deliver the clean electricity needed to meet climate targets more cheaply than Hinkley Point C, says government advisory group
Carbon capture and storage is a priority for Britain if it is to meet its 2050 climate goals, say the report’s authors.
The UK must immediately kickstart an industry to capture and bury carbon emissions in order to save consumers billions a year from the cost of meeting climate change targets, according to a high-level advisory group appointed by ministers. This requires the setting up of a new state-backed company to create the network needed to pipe the emissions into exhausted oil and gas fields under the North Sea, the group said. With this government backing, carbon capture and storage (CCS) could deliver clean electricity at a lower cost than an expanded Hinkley Point nuclear power station and almost all renewables, the group’s report states.
A CCS industry could also provide thousands of jobs, particularly in industrial heartlands such as Teesside and Grangemouth, and help reverse the fortunes of the declining North Sea fossil fuel industry. It could even tackle the major problem of cutting emissions from gas boilers, by enabling clean-burning hydrogen to be pumped into the grid. Failing to deliver CCS would hugely increase the cost of tackling climate change, according to the government’s official climate advisors, the National Audit Office and the UN’s climate science panel. …
… “It is not government subsidy, this is government investment, and with any luck the government will get its money back and better as time goes on,” said Lord Oxburgh. CCS could capture 40% of the UK’s emissions by 2050, according to the report, saving up to £5bn a year compared to alternative strategies….