OKLAHOMA

Ranking fourth in the country for crude oil production and extraction of natural gas and home to modest coal reserves, Oklahoma has not finalized a statewide climate adaptation plan. At the state level, the politics on climate change is heavily influenced by the fossil fuel sector, and both Oklahoma senators, Jim Inhofe and James Lankford, are prominent climate change deniers. Meanwhile, in spite of wide-spread skepticism of man-made climate change, groups within Oklahoma still are finding ways to prepare for the future. Scientists at University of Oklahoma and Oklahoma State University are monitoring weather patterns and carrying out research on climate change, while municipalities are developing their own climate change adaptation strategies.  

As a Great Plains state, Oklahoma also has a huge capacity for renewable wind energy production, which it is pursuing, although its commitment to an energy transition is unclear. In the 2010 Oklahoma Energy Security Act, the state made a commitment to 15% renewable energy by 2015, and in 2019 it produced nearly 35% of its net electricity from wind. However, in 2019 Oklahoma’s natural gas production also reached an all-time high at 3.2 trillion cubic feet. The state shows no signs of reducing its fossil fuel production soon; the 2010 Energy Security Act also established a natural gas energy standard that declared natural gas the preferred fossil fuel, and Oklahoma Natural Gas began providing rebates to homeowners in 2011 and businesses in 2019. Another sign of Oklahoma’s wavering pursuit of renewable energy is Governor Mary Fallin’s decision to bring the state’s tax incentives for wind energy more than three years early. The tax credit, Fallin said, was instrumental in establishing the wind industry in Oklahoma, which now ranks No. 3 in the nation for installed wind power capacity.

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