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These Four States Just Got a Lot Closer to a Zero-Emissions Future
In major victories for the climate and public health, three states have announced plans to ditch fossil fuels in transportation and buildings to shift to an all-electric, zero-emissions future.
States are a critical venue in the fight against climate change, and state policies can help pave the way for national action. That’s why we’re pushing for climate progress and clean energy standards in statehouses across the country through our Right to Zero campaign.
In the past few weeks, we and our advocacy partners have celebrated big wins in California, Colorado, Maryland, and New York that moved the states closer to clean air and 100% clean energy.
State wins that we’re celebrating.
- California passed a rule that will shift all truck sales to zero emissions by 2036, and will move sooner to electrify large fleets of the most polluting vehicles. While medium and heavy-duty trucks are just 10% of the vehicles on U.S. roads, they pump out 25% of the greenhouse gas emissions from transportation, the country’s most polluting sector.
- California also approved the most cutting-edge locomotive emissions standards in the country, which will bring all railroads operating in California to zero emissions. At the height of its implementation, the rule will prevent 63 tons of NOx emissions per day, a particularly harmful form of air pollution that is a major ingredient in smog and soot pollution.
- Maryland and Colorado became the eighth and ninth states to adopt state rules that set targets for truck manufacturers to shift their sales to zero-emissions trucks. These rules are key steps towards making the air safer to breathe and reducing toxic pollution that accelerates the worst effects of climate change.
- New York’s governor and state legislature have agreed on a first-in-the-nation bill that will help the state go 100% electric in new housing. This historic bill will end dirty gas hookups in new construction, beginning in 2026 for buildings under seven stories and 2029 for all other buildings. This adds momentum to the all-electric housing push spreading in cities across the country. The rule will help the state meet the greenhouse gas reductions that it committed to in 2019 with the passage of the Climate Act.
Why state-level policies matter.
- Earthjustice has been fighting for these protective state-level policies by building coalitions and replicating successes in more and more states under the Right To Zero campaign.
- States like California, the world’s fourth-largest economy, send strong market signals when they adopt tighter environmental regulations, which begins to shift industries to zero emission models.
- California also has permission under the Clean Air Act to pass stricter protections than the federal government’s standards. Other states can then opt into California’s standards. The clean trucks rule Maryland and Colorado just adopted was initially shaped and passed in California in 2020.
- States like New York have passed binding climate targets, which has proven a powerful incentive for lawmakers to move on legislation.
- We are now fighting for the NY HEAT Act, which would phase out new gas-line subsidies in New York — a stale, outdated practice by which utilities subsidize the cost of expanding the gas system by charging existing customers.
- As we did with California’s ACT rule, we will now also look to push other states to adopt California’s new 100% zero-emission truck and locomotive rules.