While Congress and the administration have avoided signing the Kyoto Treaty or taking action against global warming, states are taking matters into their own hands and have enacted state laws to fight climate change. More than half the states have voluntary or mandatory programs for reducing carbon emissions. Fifteen states have legislation requiring utilities to increase their use of renewable energy sources such as wind power. “The trend is unmistakably towards more states taking an active role in climate change,” says environmentalist Barry G. Rabe.

California Governor Gray Davis signed legislation that will further reduce automobile emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases. There are so many car buyers in California that rather than make special cars for that state, some auto manufacturers are planning to bring all their new cars sold in the U.S. up to California standards.

New Jersey is giving incentives to utilities, manufacturers and colleges to encourage them to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions. Some industrial states have begun curbing emissions in case the federal government imposes mandatory controls on utilities and industries in the future. Only a few industrial states, such as Michigan and Ohio, have resisted carbon dioxide controls.

Even agricultural states are fighting global warming. Nebraska has legislation to encourage farmers to plant crops that absorb carbon from the atmosphere. New Hampshire has passed laws to combat global warming, since they?re worried about protecting their maple trees and maple syrup industry.

“We’re obviously very concerned that the federal government seems to be abdicating its responsibility to address the threat of global climate change,” says Bradley M. Campbell, of New Jersey?s Department of Environmental Protection. “By contrast, there is bipartisan support among governors?to address the issue in a serious way.”

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