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Could Individual States Lead Climate Change Efforts?

AP Photo / J. Scott Applewhite

Governor Terry McAuliffe recently unveiled a plan to cut back on the state’s carbon emission output. As Nick Gilmore reports, it may be a trend that other states adopt in the future.

David Hart is the director of George Mason University’s Center for Science and Technology Policy. He see’s Governor McAuliffe’s recent proposal as a continuation of efforts already underway in the Commonwealth to deal with a changing climate.

“I think it will continue the trend in Virginia towards lower carbon resources, which we have a lot of already in the state. We have nuclear plants that produce zero carbon emissions; we have a lot of natural gas. So, I think it will accelerate a trend that is already going on.”

Credit George Mason University
George Mason University professor David Hart believes states, the private sector and individuals can all play a part in commitments such as the Paris Climate Agreement.

That is, if Virginia’s next governor is also on board with McAuliffe’s executive order – a measure that would face slim chances in the General Assembly.

Despite that, Hart says that other states may take up similar initiatives to combat climate change if the federal government continues to step away from commitments such as the Paris Climate Agreement.

“In order to address the climate change problem we need all the countries of the world to work together, and if the United States as a country pulls back, the states can continue to contribute.”

He says individuals can play a role as well by voicing their concerns over carbon emissions to their government representatives and employers. 

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