New State Environmental Laws For The New Year

When interviewed by the Washington Post about Biden’s leadership on climate change, famed activist Greta Thunberg didn’t mince her words. “If you call him a leader,” she said. “I mean, it’s strange that people think of Joe Biden as a leader for the climate when you see what his administration is doing.”

Although Biden has publicly said that man-made climate change is a danger we must all face together, his administration seems content with putting off the difficult task due to the current economic situation — which might mean the real struggle will be left to the next president or ignored altogether.

Thankfully, state governments are still planning to make changes of their own. For example, New Jersey, California, and New York are among a number of states who plan new initiatives or laws for the next year. 

New Jersey Governor Murphy signed Executive Order No. 274. The order provides a broad timeline for reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 50 percent lower than their levels were in 2006. The order establishes a 2030 goalpost for this strategy. New Jersey also passed several other laws to tackle climate change.

California has passed at least ten laws to do the same. Senate Bill 596 aims to reduce carbon capture of cement. Senate Bill 339 provides funding for a new program that will charge drivers based on the vehicle’s efficiency. Other laws on the books seek to reduce the amount of single-use plastics that residents of the state use. Senate Bill 343 makes it illegal to use the recycle symbol on a plastic product if it cannot be recycled.

New York Governor Kathy Hochul said, “Climate change and pollution are two of the most serious issues affecting New Yorkers’ health and quality of life. These pieces of legislation will ensure our state remains a national leader, not only in the fight for clean air and water, but in securing a cleaner, more sustainable future for generations as well.”