More than 50 climate-related laws have been passed by the legislators in Colorado. The liquor store in Morris uses solar power to cool its beer. The voters in Athens imposed a fee on themselves. A group of citizens in Fairfax County collaborated for a year and a half to create a climate action plan.
As national action on climate change stalls, communities and states are speeding up their efforts. The Environmental Protection Agency's authority to limit greenhouse gas emissions from power plants, one of the biggest sources of planet-warming pollution, has been curbed by the Supreme Court.
Local efforts gained importance during the time of the Trump administration. The United States, which is second only to China in emissions, has a chance to help the world avoid the worst effects of global warming.
There is no substitute for a national strategy. Local governments don't have a lot of power.
As the legislative and regulatory options in Washington, D.C. become increasingly constrained, states are critical to helping the country achieve its climate goals. There is a chance to lead. They have been in front.
New York and Colorado are on track to reduce electricity related emissions 80 percent or more by the year 2030.
It is sometimes possible to reach a consensus on climate policy that is difficult to achieve on a national level.
In Morris, a city of 5000 in Minnesota, that happened. The University of Minnesota Morris campus is politically left and right. The Morris Model calls for reducing energy consumption 30 percent by 2030, producing 80 percent of the county's electricity from renewable sources, and eliminating landfill waste by 2025.
The city manager said that they have never focused on climate as being the thing to talk about. You can work around that.
There are solar panels on the city hall. An electric vehicle charging station has been installed at the grocery store. There are solar panels on poles that are high enough for cows to eat.
The University of Minnesota's West Central Research and Outreach Center uses wind energy to make urea for crops that grow beneath the turbine, circumventing the traditional process of making it from petroleum.
The director of renewable energy at the research center had disagreements with Troy Goodnough, the director of sustainable living at the University of Minnesota Morris.
Mr. Reese said he was on the more conservative side. We share the same philosophy when it comes to changing climate and making our community better for the next generation.
Mr. Goodnough said the campus helped show technologies that were later adopted by the city. Residents are considering options they might not have considered.
People come up to me and ask how the solar system works. Mr. Hill made a statement. That looks like it would be cool.
Community strategies can be tailored to the needs of the local economy in Morris.
Phoenix focuses on electric-vehicle adoption and mitigates the effects of heat waves.
The city plans to plant trees in low-income neighborhoods. 40 miles of cool pavement has been installed. It has a plan to bring 280,000 electric vehicles to the city.
elected officials as well as representatives of utilities, auto manufacturers and environmental justice groups are included in the plan. Housing developers were reluctant to install electric vehicle charging stations in new buildings, so they had a meeting with representatives from Ford and GM. The session helped the developers realize that they were in line with market trends, according to the councilwoman.
Conversation grow more partisan as they move from the municipal to the state level.
Colorado passed climate legislation after Democrats took control of the legislature. The linchpin of the governor's plan was to achieve 100 percent clean energy in the state by 2040.
Outside of the state legislature, there were many follow-up laws that received support.
The speaker of the Colorado House said meetings with unions representing oil and gas workers were a big part of getting something passed. Ms. Becker spoke in her capacity as a former legislator, not for the E.P.A. The creation of an Office of Just Transition is an incentive. This year, it received 15 million dollars.
The Tri-State Generation and Transmission Association Inc., as well as Colorado's largest electricity providers, were on board. The last coal plants in the state are going to be closed.
The company voluntarily pledged to reduce its carbon emissions by 80 percent. If other utilities filed the same plan, the air commission wouldn't regulate their emissions in the future.
Will Toor is the executive director of the Colorado Energy Office. It made it possible for everyone to declare victory.
Colorado has a lot to do. While it was on track to meet its reduction target in the electricity sector, current policies would reduce its emissions only 33 percent by the year 2030. Some recent legislation is not accounted for by that projection.
The climate policy manager for Western Resource Advocates said that it is harder to reduce emissions in buildings and transportation because it takes a lot of individual households making decisions.
The climate plan in Fairfax County, Va., was produced by a group of community members. Programs like these come from the top down.
One of the goals of the plan approved in September is to educate county residents about the benefits of being green. Plans include solar panels on buildings.
McKay is the chairman of the county board of supervisors.
A group of more than 50 people listened to experts, looked at data, debated and voted on recommendations. The document identified 12 broad strategies in five areas. There were scores of narrower activities in the strategies.
Fairfax County is an example not of a specific model every community should adopt, but rather of tailoring a process to a community. She said that Fairfax is affluent and highly educated.
Money and resources are constraints in a lot of places.
The main impediment to the creation of a plan for reductions in other sectors is the lack of financial support. Our staff is tired.
Independent groups are in charge of helping local governments act on climate change.
Power a Clean Future Ohio does not charge local governments. The group's executive director said that the desire to do it and the actual executing on it is different. If you don't find a way to close the gap for the local governments, their climate goals will fall down.
The gap can be strong when it closes.
In Athens, a college town in Ohio, 76 percent of voters agreed to pay a carbon fee of 2 cents per kilowatt-hour of electricity use. The greenhouse gas emissions in Athens were found to be among the lowest in the state.
The same is likely to be true of local jurisdiction, according to Ms.Tellinghuisen. States can show the federal government that progress is doable.