Evers of Wisconsin, Pritzker of Illinois and Whitmer of Michigan will enter group committed to cutting HFCs.
Gretchen Whitmer, governor-elect of Michigan
Photo by Gregory Varnum
Three Democratic governors elected in the U.S. midterm elections on November 6 have said they plan to join the U.S. Climate Alliance, a bipartisan coalition of governors from 16 states and Puerto Rico committed to reducing short-lived climate pollutants (SLCPs), including HFCs.
The governors are Tony Evers of Wisconsin, J.B. Pritzker of Illinois and Gretchen Whitmer of Michigan.
The U.S. Climate Alliance formed in 2017 in reaction to the absence of national leadership on climate change from the Trump administration.Alliance states are committed to implementing policies that advance the goals of the Paris Agreement, aiming to reduce greenhouse gas emission by at least 26%-28% below 2005 levels by 2025.
“When the federal government withdrew the United States from the Climate Agreement, I called on Governor Snyder to join hundreds of mayors and a dozen governors across the nation in committing to lowering carbon emissions,” said Whitmer on her campaign website. “He refused, but I won’t. I am committed to fighting for our air and water.”
The U.S. Climate Alliance currently includes California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Puerto Rico, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia,, and Washington. In total, the alliance represents 40% of the U.S. population and a $9 trillion economy, greater than the third largest country in the world.
Already, four of the states in the alliance – California, New York, Maryland and Connecticut – have announced plans to reduce HFC emissions. California, which has been the leader in this area, passed a Cooling Act targeting HFCs in August. New York, Maryland and Connecticut made their announcements in concert with the Global Climate Action Summit in San Francisco in September.
In June, the alliance committed to reducing emissions of SLCPs, which would provide “outsized global climate benefits in the near-term, along with significant health, agricultural, and ecosystem benefits,” the group said. The alliance also invited national and subnational jurisdictions, businesses and other actors to bring commitments to reduce short-lived climate pollutants to the Global Climate Action Summit.
The alliance said that strategies to reduce HFC emissions “promote more energy efficient systems that lower costs for businesses and households, support the leadership of U.S. businesses developing alternatives to HFCs, and increase the need for skilled technicians and system designers.”
In addition to the wins at the state level, Democrats gained control of the U.S. House of Representatives, where they can excercise oversight of the Environmental Protection Agency. Newly elected House Democrats include Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York, who supports transitioning to 100% renewable energy by 2035, and Sean Casten of Illinois, who ran on a platform to fight climate change.
There were electoral setbacks as well, notably the failure of a carbon-tax initiative in Washington State.
“When the federal government withdrew the United States from the Climate Agreement, I called on Governor Snyder to join hundreds of mayors and a dozen governors across the nation in committing to lowering carbon emissions.”
Gretchen Whitmer, governor-elect, Michigan