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Delaware now has a Climate Action Plan, here's what's in it

Roman Battaglia
Delaware Public Media

Gov. John Carney unveiled a new state climate action plan today.

While international leaders meet in Glasgow to discuss climate change policies, Gov. Carney is bringing the conversation to the First State, with a new climate action plan, outlining the states goals and efforts to combat rising temperatures and sea levels.

Carney says the plan puts all of the state’s climate change policies and efforts in one space, making it easier to coordinate between agencies and lay out next steps.

“Helping folks understand all these global agreements, national policies, state policy and partnerships regionally — and individual action I think is important for folks to figure out; oh hey! I can do something, I need to do something here. Whether it’s to explore renewable options like solar panels, energy efficiency, all of that.”

Carney says in Delaware, building in resiliency for towns prone to flooding and other natural disasters is a major goal. He points out a recent storm completely flooded New Castle’s Battery Park, where the plan was announced.

He also calls educating the public about its role in reducing greenhouse gas emissions a big part of the plan.

“So we’re seeing the cost of offshore wind going down considerably. We’re seeing the cost of solar generated energy in households going down considerably — as that happens, you’re gonna have more people that are able to afford those technologies and you’re gonna see the effect being the reduction of carbon emissions.”

Through Carney’s commitment to the U.S. Climate Alliance, Delaware seeks to cut the state’s greenhouse gas emissions by 26% to 28% by 2025 from 2005 levels.

Lawmakers passed a few climate change-related bills this year, including updating the state’s renewable energy requirements, lowering barriers for community solar projects, and expanding the rollout of electric vehicle chargers at state facilities.

Carney says focusing on transportation is vital. The state wants to reach 17,000 electric vehicle sales per year by 2030. According to the Delaware DMV, only around 1000 fully electric vehicles are registered in the state.

DelDOT is also a part of that picture. DelDOT secretary Nicole Majeski says they’ve converted over 309 paratransit from gasoline to propane fuel, which produces less emissions.

State leaders present Delaware's new Climate Action Plan in Battery Park, New Castle
Roman Battaglia
Delaware Public Media
State leaders present Delaware's new Climate Action Plan in Battery Park, New Castle

“And by next year 10% of our fixed route busses will be all electric — which are also being deployed in our densely populated areas throughout the state,” Majeski says.

DelDOT is the department responsible for helping to install more electric vehicle chargers throughout the state, Majeski pointed out some new charges at a parking lot in Battery Park.

DNREC Secretary Shaun Garvin says this plan has been over two years in the making.

“A guiding principle in Delaware’s Climate Action Plan is to ensure that climate action is engaged, empowering and equitable. Equity starts with ensuring everyone has a seat at the table and that their concerns are heard.”

Garvin says that’s why partnering with higher education, such as Delaware State University, will help reach underserved communities who may be adversely affected by the effects of climate change.

The entire climate action plan can be found on DNREC’s website. The website also lays out ways Delawareans and businesses can help support the state’s efforts.

Roman Battaglia is a corps member with Report for America, a national service program that places journalists into local newsrooms.

Roman Battaglia grew up in Portland, Ore, and now reports for Delaware Public Media as a Report For America corps member. He focuses on politics, elections and legislation activity at the local, county and state levels.
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