As the world’s largest economy and the number-one historical emitter, the United States carries enormous influence as to whether climate challenges can be successfully addressed. Climate change continues to ravage all corners of the U.S., resulting in massive economic, public health and environmental damages and public and political support for bold action has increased markedly in recent years. Ambitious climate policies must be developed and implemented on all levels of government to avoid the worst climate impacts.  

Following the 2020 election, the United States has entered a new era of climate action. With a reengaged federal government, the U.S. has an opportunity to build upon state and local action and reestablish itself as a global climate leader. Ambitious climate action is not only critical to limit the global temperature increase to 1.5C, but it can help grow the economy, create millions of well-paying jobs and improve public health. The U.S. must build upon the momentum set by non-federal leaders and take an all-of-government approach to climate action to set the U.S. on a path to a prosperous, stronger, safer and more just future. 

The United States needs an all-hands-on-deck approach to addressing the climate crisis. WRI is working to advance climate action on all levels of government and in high-emitting sectors to raise climate ambition through policy and economic recovery legislation.  

Federal, State and Local Government

WRI engages with federal lawmakers and administration officials, and offers research, analysis and topical expertise on policy and legislation that can accelerate the transition to a low-carbon economy that is equitable, inclusive and just. State and local climate action proved critical in recent years when the federal government ignored climate change and actively worked to dismantle climate rules and regulations. Now, with a reengaged federal government, it is essential for state and local leaders to be at the table in developing federal climate policies. The New Climate Federalism Dialogue, a WRI convening of current and former U.S. federal, state, and local government officials, assembled to discuss how best to work with the federal government in developing and implementing climate policy. The group proposed a framework for federal, state and local governments to work together to address climate change. 

Private Sector

Through corporate engagement and participation in the CEO Climate Dialogue, WRI is working to move the needle on climate action in the private sector. Additionally, WRI co-convenes the Industrial Innovation Initiative, a coalition of key industrial and power companies, environmental and labor organizations, and state officials from Midwestern and Gulf Coast states focused on decarbonization solutions for the region’s most important industrial sectors. WRI recently published two working papers that offer recommendations on how to design low-carbon standards for both cement and steel products. 

Carbon Removal

The U.S. must invest in and deploy innovative solutions across all sectors in order to prevent the worst effects of climate change. In addition to reducing emissions from sources as quickly as practicable, carbon removal, including natural and technology-based approaches, will be a critical component of a comprehensive U.S. climate strategy. Recent WRI analysis provides near-term federal policy recommendations to advance carbon removal capabilities and deployment. 

Electric Vehicles

Transportation is the largest source of carbon emissions in the United States. Electrifying cars, trucks, buses and other vehicles will not only help the U.S. reduce emissions, but also spur job creation, improve air quality and create safer environments for America’s children. Experts are working across WRI on the electric school bus project to electrify the nation’s 480,000 school buses by 2030.