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Nevada releases state climate strategy

Under the leadership of Governor Steve Sisolak, the State of Nevada Climate Initiative released the State Climate Strategy, an integrated, economy-wide roadmap for the Silver State to accelerate climate action necessary to achieve Nevada’s climate goals and capture the health and economic benefits of the clean energy and technology revolution, according to the press release.

Sisolak issued a sweeping executive order on climate change in November 2019 that directed the executive branch of the state to evaluate, identify and recommend the most effective climate policies and regulatory initiatives in a comprehensive State Climate Strategy as a foundation of this effort. This strategy serves as a roadmap for state and local policymakers centered on several goals:

Provide a framework for reducing Nevada’s greenhouse gas emissions across all economic sectors consistent with the greenhouse gas emissions reductions targets set by the Nevada Legislature in 2019 and commensurate with Nevada’s commitments as a member of the United States Climate Alliance.

Lay the groundwork for the bold actions necessary to improve Nevada’s resilience to current and future impacts of climate change.

Establish a Nevada-specific structure for continued, ongoing climate action across the state in line with achieving Nevada’s climate goals.

“It’s a new era for climate action in Nevada,” Sisolak said in a press release. “The effects of climate change can be seen and felt in every corner of Nevada, impacting our collective public health, threatening our natural landscapes and limited water resources, and challenging the vibrancy of our communities and economy. For the first time in Nevada’s history, we are doubling down to address climate change head-on.”

Sisolak said that the Nevada State Climate Strategy serves as the critical framework “necessary to elevate climate action and foster a healthy, vibrant, climate-resilient future for all Nevadans,” especially the disadvantaged community members who live in the areas experiencing the greatest climate-related health and economic impacts.

“As we continue our recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic, climate action must play a key role in rebuilding a stronger, more climate-friendly, and equitable economy for Nevada. Put simply, we must build back stronger,” he said.

The strategy was developed using the best available science, combined with robust input from thousands of Nevadans through a series of listening sessions on a range of climate topics, a statewide climate survey, discussions with local government leaders, and more, the release said.

The strategy is just the beginning of future climate action in Nevada. As a living document, it will be adapted and updated as the impacts of climate change evolve and new climate-friendly technologies become available, the release said.

Continued engagement and collaboration with Nevadans will be essential to informing and shaping future iterations of the strategy, Sisolak added. The initiate was developed by the collaborative effort of the Nevada Department of Conservation and Natural Resources as well as the Governor’s Office of Energy, state agencies, interagency working groups, stakeholders, and Nevada residents who shared their input.

According to the state climate strategy highlights cited in a press release, 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.

Additionally, Nevada’s 2019 greenhouse gas emissions inventory shows that, without climate action, the state will fall 4 percent short of the 2025 goal and 19 percent 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, according to the press release.

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.

Bradley Crowell, director, Nevada Department of Conservation and Natural Resources and one of the State Climate Strategy contributors, called the initiative “a foundational resource” that provides a roadmap to address climate change and “seize the economic opportunities of the clean energy economy.”

“The impacts of climate change continue to compound every day in Nevada. As the driest state in the nation, coupled with ever-growing intensity and frequency of wildfires, droughts and floods, climate change represents an urgent threat to Nevada’s communities, economy, and our natural, cultural, and recreational resources. …This State Climate Strategy is a foundational resource providing a roadmap for policymakers to implement Nevada-specific solutions to address the threats of climate change and seize the economic opportunities of the clean energy economy,” he said.

The full document is available at https://climateaction.nv.gov/our-strategy/

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