Climate Change Policy Adoption in US States: A Cluster Analysis
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While the United States steps back from taking action on climate change at the federal level, many are looking to the states for leadership. Existing literature examining enactment of climate legislation in the United States often aims to identify causal mechanisms or quantify relationships driving the enactment of specific policies like renewable portfolio standards. This study takes a different approach by using clustering algorithms to identify commonalities among states in terms of: their legislative behavior; impacts of climate change; political, economic, and demographic characteristics; and energy generation and emissions. The clusters identify nuanced groups such as politically conservative coal states encouraging carbon sequestration, politically liberal states with low emissions and low policy adoption rates, and states generating large portions of their energy from natural gas also proposing renewable energy legislation. These insights highlight opportunities for future research and potential strategies for political advocacy organizations working to enact climate legislation.