State Climate Policy

Audubon protects birds from climate change, one statehouse at a time.

Audubon members, staff, and volunteers descend on the Washington state capitol to speak with their local representatives on Environmental Lobby Day in January of 2019. Photo: Luke Franke/Audubon

Climate change affects regions and communities in different ways, which means that bird lovers across the country are engaging at the local level to protect the birds that they love. The National Audubon Society works alongside state offices, local chapters, and community partners to identify and address specific climate solutions. Here are some highlights of our recent work.

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Arizona

Engaged Phoenix Voters to Support the Light Rail

The light rail system in Phoenix creates jobs, generates non-sprawling urban development, and reduces the carbon emissions of over 45,000 daily riders. Despite its multiple benefits to the city and its citizens, the light rail program in Phoenix was under threat. For the fourth time in 19 years, Phoenix voters affirmed their support for the light rail system, with nearly 2/3 of voters supporting the continued use of city funds to develop, explain, and maintain the light rail system. Expansion plans for this light rail system include a route that would take riders to Audubon’s Rio Salado Audubon Center, connecting more of the community to this nature center.

Arkansas

Defending and Expanding Solar and Net Metering

Audubon built and led a broad coalition to pass the Solar Access Act in 2019.  Work now moves to implementing the mandates in that Act.  That means Audubon will engage with the Arkansas Public Service Commision (PSC) to ensure that the goals of the legislation are fully implemented and the benefits for consumers and businesses are realized. 

Florida

Protecting the rich and varied bird habitats of Florida facing specific threats from climate change from Key West to the Panhandle

For over a century, Audubon has been the most influential conservation voice in the state of Florida. Adapting to new challenges posed by climate change, Audubon Florida has recently claimed significant victories in helping Miami-Dade County electrify its fleet of buses, and securing the approval of the largest community solar program in the country.

Indiana

Working across the political spectrum to ensure a cleaner and safer future

Audubon works with our members and Indiana’s leaders at both the state and federal level to support industries like agriculture and forestry to meet the challenges of a changing climate.

Louisiana

Establishing a Clean Energy and Emissions Standard for the City of New Orleans

Working in partnership with Energy Future New Orleans, a coalition of local and national organizations and businesses, Audubon Louisiana and the National Audubon Society supported a clean energy standard for the city of New Orleans that would require 100% clean energy by 2050, and an offsetting of carbon emissions by 2040. The standard was approved in April 2020. Audubon and EFNO are currently working on outlining regulations to implement the standard.

New York

Setting a nation-leading precedent for greenhouse gas reduction

In 2019, New York set a bold example for the nation when Governor Andrew Cuomo officially signed New York’s ambitious Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act (CLCPA) into law. Audubon New York —alongside many local Audubon chapters and environmental partners—successfully advocated for this ambitious climate bill, which puts the state on the path to achieving the highest reduction of greenhouse gases in the country by 2050. Next step:  A Climate Action Council will develop a scoping plan to reach net-zero emissions goals across all economic sectors.

North Carolina

Building Grassroots Support for Clean Energy and Other Initiatives to Protect Birds from a Changing Climate

Audubon North Carolina has been working with advocates to deliver climate and clean energy victories for years. In 2017, Audubon led a successful campaign to establish a new competitive marketplace for solar energy in North Carolina that would nearly double the amount of installed, large-scale solar energy over a four year period. Since then, Audubon advocates have been leading the way in speaking out against legislation that would slow North Carolina’s transition to cleaner energy and establishing North Carolina as a leader on clean energy.

South Carolina

Creating grassroots support for renewable energy that benefits both people and birds

In Spring 2019, thanks in part to the efforts of Audubon members across the state, the South Carolina legislature nearly unanimously passed the Energy Freedom Act to help ease restrictions on solar energy in the state. Keeping up that momentum, Audubon Ambassadors continue to support statewide efforts to expand renewable energy to promote cleaner air for people and wildlife, while creating jobs.

Virginia

Supporting a New Clean Energy Standard in Virginia

As a strategic partner with the Virginia Clean Economy Act coalition, Audubon supported the Virginia Clean Economy Act by enhancing grassroots, communications, and outreach capacity in the state. In March 2020, grassroots advocates helped push passage of the landmark VCEA, setting a roadmap for Virginia to provide 100 percent of its electricity from carbon free sources by 2050 by increasing investment in energy efficiency and giving homeowners, businesses and municipalities the ability to generate their own power through wind and solar.

Washington

Delivering on the Promise of Groundbreaking First Steps

Efforts by Audubon Washington contributed to historic clean energy policies and a bill to help farmers and working lands capture carbon emissions. Work continues on initiatives like the Clean Fuels Standard.