Bear, Del. – Governor 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 the decades of effort by various state agencies who have been prioritizing Delaware’s climate. In 2021, Governor Carney developed a Climate Action Plan aiming to reduce emissions and increase resilience. With the help of multiple state agencies, Governor Carney’s administration is implementing these recommendations and building a more sustainable future for Delaware.
“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 Governor Carney. “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.”
Learn more about Delaware’s Climate Action Plan on DNREC’s website.
“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 will:
- 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.
“Today is about taking necessary action to protect our children’s futures. The climate crisis is here, and it is already impacting our health, our livelihoods, and our way of life. I am grateful to Governor Carney and leaders in the General Assembly for rising to this moment so that we can preserve our shorelines and our coastal communities and limit the health impacts of climate change, which disproportionately affect our most vulnerable residents. We know the work continues, but today Delaware is making meaningful progress to protect our environment and our quality of life for future generations,” said Lt. Governor Bethany Hall-Long.
“As a low-lying coastal state, Delaware is especially vulnerable to the devastating and life-altering impacts of climate change. Because of this, we have an urgent responsibility to confront this challenge head-on and pave the way for a greener and more sustainable future,” said House Speaker Valerie Longhurst. “With the bills that Governor Carney signed into law today, we’re taking a critical step towards this goal and positioning Delaware as a leader in green energy innovation and sustainability. I commend my colleagues for their hard work on these important measures and I’m looking forward to our continued work in the ongoing fight against climate change.”
“Delaware has made incredible progress in setting realistic and attainable goals to reduce our reliance on fossil fuels, minimize our greenhouse gas emissions, and move our state to clean and sustainable energy sources,” said State Senator Stephanie Hansen. “In just the last few years, we have set new renewable portfolio standards for our utilities to follow, adopted a statewide climate action plan, promoted the adoption of electric vehicles, and created new avenues for historically disadvantaged communities to reap the benefits of solar power,” she said. “Just as greenhouse gases pose a threat to our entire state by contributing to rising sea levels and worsening air quality, it’s going to take a whole-of-government approach to reverse the long-term harm caused by decades of reliance on fossil fuels. The bills signed into law today mark a significant step forward in that effort and I am grateful to the many legislators and advocates who worked so hard to get us to this point.”
“Senate Bill 103 is a responsible step forward that will enhance Delaware’s infrastructure and reduce costs for working families as the U.S. auto market continues transitioning to electric vehicles,” said State Senator Sarah McBride. “By requiring electric vehicle charging conduits to be included in new home construction and elsewhere, we are helping to prepare our neighbors for this impending market shift, encouraging our communities to adopt cleaner modes of transportation, and further reducing Delaware’s reliance on fossil fuels. This is good public policy for families, our environment and our state, and I want to thank Governor John Carney for signing it into law today.”
“We can no longer sit passively and pretend that no-action is the best way to protect the planet’s future. Humankind has contributed detrimentally to the environment and it’s time we own our responsibility to address the issue,” said State Representative Debra Heffernan. “We worked collaboratively with environmental leaders, various stakeholders and officials to craft an ambitious group of bills that will fight climate change and protect our portion of this fragile planet. Through hard work, we’re here now to celebrate the passage of several of these bills, and I’m committed to introducing and passing more legislation in the upcoming session. Thank you to all who invested their time, expertise and support to this effort – we couldn’t have done it without you.”
“Combating the catastrophic effects of climate change and reducing greenhouse gas emissions can’t be accomplished with one bill or one solution. It requires several ideas coming together for one purpose. Today we celebrate a series of bills that together help Delaware reduce carbon emissions,” said State Representative Sophie Phillips. “My HB 12 will help make electric vehicles more affordable to middle-class families who want a cleaner environment and to save money at the pump. I’m looking forward to continuing our work next year with more legislation to protect our environment, reduce greenhouse gas emissions and fight climate change.”
“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.”
“Climate change and rising seas are an existential threat to Delaware. With the signing of House Bill 99 and the accompanying bill package, we take a step forward in envisioning a more sustainable future for Delaware’s human and natural communities,” said Lori Brennan, Executive Director of the Nature Conservancy Delaware and Pennsylvania. “Thank you, Governor Carney, Senator Hansen, Reps. Longhurst, Heffernan and Phillips, DNREC staff, the bill sponsors and the environmental community for the continued work on behalf of the environment and the natural spaces we cherish.”
Video from today’s press conference can be found on Governor Carney’s YouTube channel.