A look at states’ efforts to tackle climate change in 2022, so far

The story at a glance

  • Partisan politics have long hampered comprehensive federal action on climate change.

  • As the summer of 2022 kicks off with soaring temperatures across the country, the League of Conservation Voters looks back on state legislative victories this year.

  • In subsequent states, new bills, rules and budgets have subtly integrated climate action into the agenda, marking incremental advances in the fight against climate change.

Amid extreme heat waves engulfing the nation and stark images of floods inundating a national park, it’s hard to ignore the palpable effects of climate change that are already altering everyday life.

And while the failure of President Biden’s Build Back Better bill in the Senate may have signaled a hurdle for those calling for tougher federal action on climate change, a series of state-level actions put implemented or introduced in 2022 offer some hope, at least on the local front.

Here’s what states have achieved so far in 2022 after taking matters into their own hands, according to a compilation by the League of Conservation Voters (LCV).


In Maryland, the state legislature passed the Climate Solutions Now Act, which includes the nation’s most significant carbon pollution reduction goal by committing to net zero emissions by 2045. By 2031, the state will have to reduce its emissions by 60%, thus marking the boldest objective. short-term goal in the United States.

The law also includes provisions allocating resources to low-income residents to prevent further climate-related harm to vulnerable communities and allows school bus fleets to transition to electric buses. Maryland Governor, Republican Larry Hogan, said the law would go into effect without his signature.


SB10, passed in April, made Connecticut the 14th state to commit to 100% clean energy through legislative action, while an additional bill, SB4, committed the state to meeting the California advanced truck rule. Together, the two bills include provisions that will commit the state to all electric school buses by 2035, with a particular focus on promoting adoption in low-income communities and communities of color. . The state plans to go to 100% clean energy by 2040.


New financial requirements for oil and gas companies have been unanimously approved by the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission. The requirements focus on reducing the risk of orphan oil wells and will significantly increase the bond amounts oil and gas producers must provide to cover cleanup costs. In addition, new fees will help raise funds to finance the plugging of abandoned wells.

The state has also enacted Toxic Substances in the Air Rules (HB22-1244) to monitor toxic air pollution with a particular focus on vulnerable communities in the state. Under these rules, the state is required to establish health standards for certain pollutants.

HB22-1193 was passed to provide funds supporting the “just transition” from coal to clean energy.

New Mexico

In 2022, the New Mexico Environmental Improvement Council passed new ozone rules aimed at preventing leaks of methane emissions from oil and gas production facilities that account for the majority of the industry methane problem. The state also passed a clean car rule that will reduce emissions and smog-forming pollutants from new passenger cars and trucks starting in 2026 by increasing the number of electric vehicles on the road. By 2050, the rule is estimated to eliminate about 130,000 tons of greenhouse gases in the state.


As part of Maine’s climate action plan, the state now requires integrated grid planning that will serve as the foundation for a clean energy sector. It will also be among the first in the country to make it mandatory to assess the impacts of network plans on the environment, equity and environmental justice. LD 1959 indicates that public input from outside experts and utility companies should be incorporated into the plan.

New Jersey

A5160 updated the state’s appliance efficiency standards and passed with bipartisan support from the state legislature in January. The state plastic bag ban also went into effect recently, banning single-use plastic or paper bags in grocery stores and banning all polystyrene containers like those used for takeout.

New York

New York State’s budget passed this year included funding to require all new school bus purchases to be zero-emissions beginning in 2027. By 2035, all school buses will be zero-emissions, while that $500 million has also been allocated for electric school buses and charging. infrastructure specifically intended to serve disadvantaged communities.

In November, New York’s $4.2 billion Environmental Bond Act will appear on voter ballots and aims to invest hundreds of millions of dollars in wind energy supply chains offshore and drinking water infrastructure.


A $17 billion transportation package passed by the Washington state legislature will invest billions in new public transit and alternative transportation. The money will be invested over the next 16 years and will allow all public transit users under the age of 18 to ride for free. Ultra-high-speed rail, hybrid-electric ferries and more investment in walking and cycling infrastructure in under-invested communities are all included in the package.

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Michigan passed a $4.7 billion budget bill to clean up and protect state water and remove lead pipes used for drinking water. The investment will also support funding for national and local parks in addition to repairing roads and bridges.

The state’s governor, Democrat Gretchen Whitmer, released a comprehensive climate plan this year with the goal of achieving carbon neutrality by 2050. The plan aims to phase out all coal-fired power plants by 2030 and moving to 60% clean energy over the next decade and allocating 40% of the state budget to fund climate and water infrastructure initiatives targeting underserved communities in the state. On the conservation front, the plan aims to protect 30% of the state’s land and water by 2030 and expand electric vehicle charging stations to support 2 million electric vehicles.


Governor Gavin Newsom, a Democrat, announced a $9.5 billion addition to his climate budget as his state faces one of its largest budget surpluses in state history. Advocates are also pushing for the Clean Cars and Clean Air Act to appear on the state ballot in November. This would allow an estimated $100 billion in new revenue to be invested over the next two decades to develop infrastructure for charging and refueling electric vehicles and zero-emission vehicles. It would also help fight and prevent wildfires and would be funded by a 1.75% increase in personal income tax among residents earning more than $2 million.


The Virginia League of Conservation Voters has worked to remove Andrew Wheeler, a former coal industry lobbyist and head of the Environmental Protection Agency under President Trump, from consideration for the top environmental post. of State, the Secretary of Natural and Historic Resources.

The group has also worked to advocate for the Virginia Clean Economy Act and its participation in the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative. The initiative includes 11 states working to cap and reduce carbon dioxide emissions from the electricity sector and is the first such regional group to do so in the United States.


Lawyers in Florida have lobbied Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis to veto HB 741, which would have ended net metering, under which utilities are required to pay customers who generate excess electricity from their rooftop solar panels, which is then redistributed to non-solar customers. The loss means solar power will remain affordable in the Sunshine State, allowing more customers to install the panels on their roofs.


A coalition led by the Environmental Council of Illinois succeeded in stopping SB1104 that would have effectively undermined the Climate and Fair Jobs Act by creating a task force of mostly fossil fuel industry representatives to propose recommendations on the reliability of renewable energies. The bill would also have duplicated reporting requirements and protocols put in place to ensure the reliability of clean energy.


Democratic Gov. Tony Evers outlined his clean energy plan marking “the strongest roadmap to climate justice and clean energy in Wisconsin history,” according to the memo’s authors. According to the plan, by 2050, all electricity consumed in the state would be 100% carbon-free. It would also create around 40,000 new jobs by 2030 by investing in clean energy and prioritize the state’s tribal nations in the planning process.

North Carolina

In an executive order, Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper detailed how the state plans to achieve a 50% reduction in carbon emissions by 2030 from 2005 levels and achieve net greenhouse gas emissions. zero greenhouses by 2050 at the latest. Additionally, under the plan, 50 percent of all new vehicle sales in the state must be zero-emission vehicles by 2030. Governor Cooper has also asked cabinet agencies to identify a leader in environmental justice and to consider environmental justice when implementing further action on climate change. .

Posted on June 15, 2022

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