What California Can Teach Us About the Importance of Local Climate Action

sub-national climate actionSolving climate change will take a global effort, which is why the anticipated agreement from the Paris talks in December and the individual commitments from nations around the world are so vital. But as this GreenBiz article points out, there’s a lot to be said for state and local-level climate action as well. A newly released report found that, thanks to its ambitious efforts to cut carbon pollution, California ranks as the second least carbon-intensive economy in the world. It’s also the world’s seventh-biggest economy, with a GDP of $2 trillion. This is a good indicator of the connection between smart climate policies and economic growth.
 
Cities, states, and counties are often less constrained by bureaucracy than national governments, making it easier for them to embrace emerging technologies and test out climate policies and preparedness strategies. Their innovations and successes can serve as models for other local or even national efforts – and their example can inspire all of us to take the lead and help move our own states and communities forward.
 

California and the Rise of ‘Sub-national’ Climate Action

Lauren Hepler, Associate Editor at GreenBiz Group
 
From its solar panel-adorned rooftops to the influx of Teslas now populating area carpool lanes to a strong organic food sector, California is well known for its stereotypical green reputation.
 
What’s much less clear is how the state’s aggressive emissions targets and growing clean tech sector really translate on a global economic scale, when stacked up against world powers like China, the European Union or the rest of the U.S.
 
The state more than holds its own, according to a new report by think tank Next 10, which named California the No. 2 least carbon-intensive economy in the world behind nuclear power stalwart France.
 
By putting the state’s energy use, emissions and clean tech innovation in context with the 50-biggest greenhouse-emitting countries in the world, the report underscored the increasing importance of “sub-national,” or state and local-level action on climate issues in the absence of a global framework.
 
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Image credit: Next 10

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