Gov. John Carney joined members of the General Assembly, members of his Cabinet, and advocates on Thursday to sign multiple pieces of legislation aimed at tackling climate change in Delaware.
This work builds off of efforts by state agencies and other constituents. Carney developed a Climate Action Plan aiming to reduce emissions and respond to future challenges.
“Climate change threatens our tourism industry, our agricultural industry, the health of our citizens, and the financial well-being of our local, county and state governments,” said. “There’s no time to wait to take action. I want to thank the advocates and members of the General Assembly for their dedicated work to preserving our natural heritage and building on the great work of state agencies as they follow Delaware’s Climate Action Plan.”
“Achieving a 50% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 and net zero emissions by 2050 are ambitious but attainable goals,” said Secretary Shawn M. Garvin, Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control. “We have been working for years transitioning to cleaner energy sources in our homes, businesses and transportation systems, and we have seen positive progress. Delaware’s Climate Action Plan, released in November 2021, provided additional strategies and actions, and it serves as our playbook for both reducing emissions and for increasing our resiliency to the impacts of climate change that we are already witnessing.”
The pieces of legislation signed on Thursday:
- House Bill 99: Lays out targets to reduce net emissions by 50% by 2030 and 100% by 2050.
- House Bill 10: Sets targets for purchasing electric school buses.
- House Bill 11: Ensures large commercial buildings are equipped for solar installation.
- House Bill 12: Expands the Electric Vehicle Rebate Program
- SS 1 for Senate Bill 103: Amends Delaware code to make it easier to bring EV chargers into residential areas.
- Senate Bill 170: Commitment to study offshore wind with neighboring states and PJM.
- SS 1 for Senate Bill 7: Expands the Delaware State Energy Office.
The bills largely passed on party one votes, with GOP legislators skeptical of the climate legislation while campaigning hard for passage of a bill that would leave it up to the Legislature, rather than the DNREC Secretary, to make a decision on a 2035 mandate. The mandate would require the bulk of vehicles sold in the state to be battery-electrics. That bill narrowly passed the House but was not acted on by the Senate.
“I want to thank all the legislators and the Governor’s office for a tremendous amount of work and support for this legislative package, including the Climate Change Solution Act of 2023,” said Dustyn Thompson, Chapter Director of the Sierra Club Delaware Chapter. “I think the amount of support we saw this year is indicative of the moment we are in right now. These elected officials understand that our state is reaching the brink where if we do not take decisive and meaningful action we will be forfeiting the future of so many generations yet to come. While this is just the beginning, I think we will look back at this moment and recognize that this is when we gave ourselves the tools we need to fight back against a rapidly changing climate and ready our state for the impacts we are no longer able to avoid.”