CARSON CITY–This week the State of Nevada Climate Initiative released its State Climate Strategy, a climate action plan that aims to direct the state toward reaping the benefits of “clean energy and technology revolution.”
“For the first time in Nevada’s history, we are doubling down to address climate change head-on,” said Gov. Steve Sisolak in a statement about the plan.
The plan was initiated by an executive order from the governor issued in November 2019 that directed the state’s executive branch to “evaluate, identify and recommend the most effective climate policies and regulatory initiatives.” It’s intended to assist state and local policymakers in meeting Nevada’s goals for a “climate-resilient future.”
“Climate change is impacting all of us right now,” said Kristen Averyt, the state’s climate policy coordinator with the Nevada Climate Initiative. “Longer droughts, more wildfires, extended heat waves—these challenges are not going away. We must focus on the long game.”
Strategy highlights include:
- More than 75 percent of climate survey respondents in Nevada indicated they are ‘very concerned’ about climate change, with drought, wildfire, air quality, and extreme heat among the topics of greatest concern.
- The State Climate Strategy applies a robust framework for evaluating 17 climate mitigation policies against four key metrics: GHG emissions-reduction potential, climate justice, economic implications, and implementation feasibility.
- Low-income communities, people of color, and indigenous populations have disproportionately borne the burden of the impacts of climate change. Reconciling and addressing environmental justice concerns is a common thread throughout the State Climate Strategy.
- Climate action and economic development activities in Nevada are intrinsically linked and can be strategically integrated to achieve their respective goals.
- Nevada’s 2019 greenhouse gas emissions inventory shows that, without climate action, the state will fall 4% short of the 2025 goal and 19% short of the 2030 emissions reductions goal. By meeting the state’s emission reduction targets, Nevada would prevent between $172 and $786 million in economic damages by 2030 and up to $4 billion by 2050.
- Given the complexities of climate change, multiple issues must be considered together to develop a catalog of climate-related policies, programs, and plans that are harmonized within and across different levels of governance and economic sectors. Establishing a robust climate governance structure with clear processes and related authorities to reduce emissions and manage the cascading impacts of climate change will position Nevada to navigate the challenges and opportunities ahead.
Numerous state agencies contributed to development of the strategy document, including Nevada Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, Nevada Governor’s Office of Energy, Nevada System of Higher Education, Governor’s Office of Economic Development, Nevada Department of Transportation and Nevada Department of Agriculture.