States Show Leadership on Climate

We have been partnering with the Wilson Center on a group of activities to promote state climate successes. These efforts culminated in today’s publication of the report, Lessons Learned from State-Level Climate Policies to Accelerate U.S. Climate Action.

The Jackson Foundation lent its voice with an article introducing the report, sharing why this topic matters to us, and highlighting some of the findings:

In a time of increasing urgency and regulatory restraint in U.S. climate policy, state-level climate work has been critical. States such as California, Louisiana, and Washington have taken the absence of federal policy as an opening to innovate, and responded thoughtfully and creatively to the challenge.

Federal investments are now on the way via last year’s passage of the Inflation Reduction Act and the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, and these state-level climate policy successes may offer a tool to strengthen political will to spur broader responses.

The Henry M. Jackson Foundation is pleased to have joined with the Wilson Center’s Environmental Change and Security Program (ECSP) and the University of California Berkeley’s Center for Law, Energy & the Environment (CLEE) to articulate the dynamic national climate landscape—and highlight climate work in states already fashioning effective responses—in a new policy brief that illuminates these essential issues.

For instance, California’s deep experience in pursuing climate action has led to key collaboration with stakeholders on funding that prioritizes the needs of local communities—especially lower income and rural areas that have experienced greater climate impacts.

Louisiana’s pronounced vulnerabilities to climate effects and its level of emissions from industry and fossil fuel sectors might paralyze policymaking in many states. Yet last year, Louisiana set a target of net-zero emissions by 2050, while closely connected its new Climate Action Plan with its resiliency plans.

And in Washington State, a suite of far-ranging policies that some call the most ambitious in the country is now taking hold. The Climate Commitment Act, a cap-and-invest policy, will hold its first emissions allowance auction in February 2023. The state’s Healthy Environment for All Act prioritizes environmental justice in key state agencies, and helps ensure equitable investments with ongoing community involvement.

For nearly 40 years, the Henry M. Jackson Foundation has engaged in environmental work, inspired by Senator Jackson’s landmark legislative legacy as the longtime chair of the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, and a founder of the environmental movement.

The Jackson Foundation’s focus on climate change is the natural trajectory of Sen. Jackson’s legacy. This new policy brief is another opportunity to make an impact on the central issue of our time. As this new analysis suggests, many solutions to address global warming already exist, yet the political drive to pass climate action policy has not kept pace with them. We believe these in-depth case studies of state-level policies and outcomes can inform and spur further climate action successes.

-Maura Sullivan, Program Officer

Photo by Michael Warwick/