Delaware is the second smallest and sixth least populous state in the US but also the sixth most densely populated. According to a 2016 report from the EPA, Delaware’s climate is changing. The state has warmed two degrees (F) in the last century, heavy rainstorms are more frequent, and the sea is rising about one inch every seven years. Higher water levels are eroding beaches, submerging low lands, exacerbating coastal flooding, and increasing the salinity of estuaries and aquifers. In the coming decades, changing the climate is likely to increase coastal flooding; harm marine, wetland, and inland ecosystems; disrupt farming; and increase some risks to human health.
In December 2019, Delaware joined a coalition of mid-Atlantic and Northeastern states (PA, NY, NJ, VA, MA, MD, CT, ME, DE, RI, VT and the District of Columbia) in drafting a plan for a multi-state gasoline cap-and-trade program. The plan aims to reduce transportation-related tailpipe emissions, and would levy a tax on fuel companies based on carbon dioxide emissions. The most ambitious version of the plan is projected to reduce the area’s tailpipe emissions by 25% between 2022 and 2032. Transportation is the leading source of planet-warming emissions in 10 of these eleven states. The program could begin as early as 2022.
Delaware has no crude oil or natural gas reserves. Its largest energy supply comes from natural gas, largely transported from Pennsylvania. Delaware began transitioning its electricity generation from coal to natural gas in 2010.
State Senator Harris McDowell has proposed new legislation to extend the portfolio standard through 2035, with the intention of gradually increasing renewable energy purchases by 15 percent over the extended period.