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Cities, companies chart own climate action paths

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President Joe Biden convenes a climate summit with 40 world leaders confronted by Donald Trump's legacy of climate inaction. Responding to public sentiment, many U.S. states, cities and companies have taken action into their own hands. (April 21)

Video Transcript

TRACY BROWN: California's Sonoma Wine Country is home to a new floating solar farm, believed to be the largest in the US.

TERRY CROWLEY: This was a good project in that it helped to increase the quality of the recycled water for irrigation usage. But also will help to provide renewable energy for our community.

TRACY BROWN: Nearly 12,000 solar panels installed in a 5 million gallon wastewater pond, helping solve twin problems. Reducing sunlight to prevent algae growth in recycled water, and fuel a demand for clean power.

TERRY CROWLEY: And our community is very climate-oriented.

TRACY BROWN: It's just one example of climate action at the ground level. As soon as he took office, President Joe Biden signing his intent to combat climate change.

JOE BIDEN: We're going to rejoin the Paris Climate Accord as of today.

TRACY BROWN: But there's a sense of policy whiplash after four years of climate inaction under Donald Trump.

DONALD TRUMP: If it doesn't blow, you can forget about television for that night.

TRACY BROWN: The on again off again policies at the federal level aren't the full story.

NATHAN HULTMAN: Now, it's easy to get masked by the fact that there has been absolute like opposition from the federal government under Trump, and that was harmful.

TRACY BROWN: Instead, Hultman says states, cities, tribes, and even companies have responded by taking matters into their own hands. With historic ties to the internal combustion engine, Ford Motor Company is now aiming for a future based on electric vehicles.

BOB HOLYCROSS: We know this is going to be a longer journey. We can't wait for, you know, the different political cycles that may come through with this.

TRACY BROWN: Holycross says Ford is looking for a sense of urgency and unity from the global summit to get greenhouse gas emission reductions. The owners of America's largest solar farm, Solar Star, put their focus on their customers growing demands for renewable energy.

ALICIA KNAPP: It really helps us to focus on what's important and not be distracted or have knee jerk reactions following the various policies. But really staying true to our customers.

TRACY BROWN: Providing clean power to over 1,000 households, this floating solar farm could be the template for many more.

TERRY CROWLEY: This proves the concept, it's viable.

TRACY BROWN: Developers are banking on Healdsburg not holding the title of the country's largest floating solar farm for too much longer. Tracy Brown, Associated Press.