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State and Local Climate Leadership in the Trumpocene

Vicki Arroyo


The Trump Administration’s assault on climate change policy has both frustrated and energised leaders at the state and local level. With the announcement of withdrawal from the Paris Agreement, the rollback of the Clean Power Plan, and the reconsideration of US EPA 2022-2025 motor vehicle emissions standards, governors and mayors are pledging to step up efforts in order to help fill the gap in federal leadership. They are building on existing climate, clean energy, and efficiency programs and are often accelerating or expanding their efforts to transition to a lower carbon economy while preparing for the impacts of climate change. However, their work will be made more challenging by federal rollbacks on climate change and by the Trump Administration’s promotion of fossil energy production, consumption, and exports.
US states and cities are on the front lines of climate change impacts and are already feeling the effects of rising seas, more intense storms, searing heatwaves, and more severe droughts, fires, and floods. Governors, mayors, and other officials cite climate impacts their communities are experiencing as one key impetus for urgent action. They also point to the significant opportunities and benefits that come from a shift to cleaner energy. This article identifies the steps that leading governors and mayors are taking to move forward on both climate change mitigation and adaptation, and puts these developments in the larger context by describing what was already happening before the Trump election.


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