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As states across the country recognize the growing importance of addressing climate risk, lawmakers are making efforts to hold corporations accountable and protect responsible investing. States like California and Michigan are leading the charge, standardizing climate risk disclosures and taking greedy billionaires at the helms of the oil and gas industry to court for lying to Americans and burdening taxpayers.

Meanwhile, extreme politicians in states like Texas, Oklahoma, and Florida are making desperate attempts to protect the interests of Big Oil and establish fossil fuel mandates, despite the fact that a majority of Americans support responsible investing. In Oklahoma, state lawmakers are scrambling after a controversial anti-ESG law – which has cost the state $184.7 million to date – was temporarily blocked by a district court judge. In Texas, anti-ESG laws have cost the state nearly $700 million and over 3,000 full-time, permanent jobs.

Below is a round up of states across the U.S. that are protecting responsible investing and holding billionaires and their well-funded special interests to the fire. 

  • California: Last week, the California Senate Appropriations Committee approved the ‘Polluters Pay Climate Cost Recovery Act’ proposal, which would impose fees on large-scale polluters for state climate change damages, and Governor Gavin Newsom included new funding for state climate programs in his proposed 2024-2025 state budget. Last fall, California enacted sweeping climate risk disclosure rules for public and private companies that meet specific revenue thresholds and do business in the state. 
  • Michigan: Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel announced plans this month to pursue litigation against fossil fuel companies to recover financial costs the state has incurred as a result of climate change. Last fall, Michigan enacted the MI Healthy Climate Plan into state law, which projects 100% carbon neutrality for the state by 2050. 
  • Vermont: This month, Vermont state lawmakers passed the Climate Superfund Act which will require fossil fuel and high emissions companies to pay for climate change damages. The law has passed in both the state House and Senate and is currently with Vermont Governor Phil Scott for final consideration.
  • Pennsylvania: This March, Pennsylvania Governor Josh Shapiro announced a new carbon-pricing proposal that would charge power plant companies for carbon emissions along with a plan to require utilities companies to utilize a larger percentage of renewable energy sources. According to the Governor’s office, these proposals are estimated to save ratepayers $250 million over the next five years and create 14,500 new jobs.
  • Illinois: Earlier this year, Chicago lawmakers filed a lawsuit against several Big Oil companies for their escalation of the climate crisis. The companies named in the lawsuit include BP, Chevron, ConocoPhillips, Exxon Mobil, Phillips 66, Shell, and API. Additionally, beginning in 2020 the state of Illinois launched the Sustainable Investing Act which requires all state and local public entities to implement sustainable investment guidelines into their policies and decision-making processes. 
  • Massachusetts: In December 2023, The Massachusetts Department of Public Utilities developed guidelines to phase out the use of natural gas for heating and other utility functions. Beginning in 2025, gas companies will be required to submit “climate compliance plans” every five years detailing their transition to clean energy, as part of the state’s plans to be carbon neutral by 2050. 
  • Wyoming: Despite being the country’s top-producing coal state, Wyoming Governor Mark Gordon has been pushing a ‘carbon-negative’ agenda, advocating for carbon-capture technologies in an attempt to push a deeply fossil fuel-reliant state towards a cleaner economy.