During the Trump Presidency, the federal government is moving backwards fast on climate change. The Administration is trying to roll back the country’s most important climate regulations, along with a raft of other environmental protections. So at this time, climate progress in the United States is happening at the state and local level, where many key decisions about climate and energy get made. States have jurisdiction over transportation policy, building codes, and energy utilities. Cities and counties have control over land use, transportation, and waste management, and some own their own utilities.
The most recent report from the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change describes an exhaustive list of important strategies that can get implemented at the local level. Here is an interview with Debra Roberts, a co-chair of an IPCC Working Group, which elaborates on what’s possible.
Cities are responsible for approximately 75% of the world’s climate emissions, so climate action has to start at the local level. And when cities and states act on climate, the rest of the world will follow.