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Lombardo withdraws Nevada from state-led greenhouse gas reduction coalition

Amy Alonzo
Amy Alonzo
Gov. Joe Lombardo.

Gov. Joe Lombardo has withdrawn Nevada from the U.S. Climate Alliance, a coalition of more than two dozen governors committed to reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

Lombardo, a Republican, is the only governor elected or re-elected in 2022 to withdraw their state from the alliance, which aims to have its 25 member states commit to implementing policies that advance the climate goals outlined in the Paris Agreement, an international treaty adopted by 196 nations. Former Gov. Steve Sisolak, a Democrat, joined the alliance in March 2019.

In a July 5 letter withdrawing Nevada from the group, Lombardo stated that the goals of the alliance are “ambitious and well-intentioned” but that they “conflict with Nevada’s energy policy objectives.”  

Those energy objectives are outlined in an executive order Lombardo signed earlier this year that focuses on “developing and maintaining a diverse energy supply portfolio” in Nevada, Lombardo wrote, while “utilizing a balanced approach to electric and natural gas energy supply and transportation fuels.”

Environmental groups have criticized the executive order for moving the state away from a central goal of the Nevada Climate Strategy, a Sisolak-era policy calling for an orderly transition away from fossil fuels, including natural gas, to reach a statutory goal of net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.

Lombardo's departure from the alliance is disappointing, according to Evan Westrup, communications director for the alliance.

"As unprecedented wildfire smoke, record heat, and catastrophic floods sweep across the country, we need every state and every governor – no matter their politics – confronting this crisis," he wrote in an email. "We’re disappointed Gov. Lombardo has decided to move in another direction and should he reconsider, our door is open."

Since 2016, participating countries have worked toward the agreement’s voluntary target of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by more than half by 2030 — a goal climate researchers say could potentially limit the global temperature increase to 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels. 

Former President Barack Obama signed the United States on as a leading member of the agreement during its establishment at the U.N. Climate Change Conference in 2015. 

But in 2017, former President Donald Trump withdrew the U.S. from the agreement, stating that it was imposing “draconian financial and economic burdens” on the nation. President Joe Biden then recommitted the U.S. to the Paris Agreement on his first day in office.

After Trump withdrew the U.S. from the Paris Agreement, Democratic Gov. Jay Inslee of Washington and former governors Andrew Cuomo of New York and Jerry Brown of California launched the U.S. Climate Alliance.

While working toward the goals outlined in the Paris Agreement, member states also track and report their progress, accelerate policies to promote clean energy and reduce carbon pollution, and focus on equity, environmental justice and a fair economic transition while working toward achieving their climate goals.

Nationally, 25 governors are alliance members, including Republican Phil Scott of Vermont. Most recently, Arizona Gov. Katie Hobbs, a Democrat, joined the alliance.

This story was updated at 2:30 p.m. on 7/12/23 to add a statement from the U.S. Climate Alliance.


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