Source: International Energy Agency
Action beyond the Federal Government
Some states, cities, and environmental groups have sued the federal government because they do not believe that Trump administration policies are sufficiently protective of the environment or of climate. Indeed, some states (such as California, New Jersey and New York) have gone much further than the Federal government in implementing policies that aim to achieve deep reductions in emissions by mid-century. States with these policies are among the most populous, with the largest economies, meaning that these state-level policies can make a real difference in overall US emissions.
However, not everything is under the states’ jurisdiction. Transportation is a contentious sector, especially when it comes to vehicle fuel efficiency standards. For example, since the 1970s, California has had the ability to enact its own standards, so long as they are as strict or stricter than Federal standards. Under the Obama administration, California and the Federal government agreed to ambitious and harmonized vehicle efficiency standards for the entire nation. The current administration is trying to roll back those ambitious standards and revoke California’s ability to set its own standards; a coalition of states and cities is currently fighting the change in court.
In the private sector, more and more companies are announcing strong measures to reduce their emissions, in part out of concern for their public image. Though the urgency seems less than in Europe, the movement is similar. However, this concern about image takes place primarily in large companies with a public face, including technology companies or utilities. There is less public pressure for companies that are not consumer-facing, although some of them adopt climate goals anyway out of a sense of responsibility or a desire to be prepared for a changing future.
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