In 2019, renewable power was having a moment — but not where you’d expect. Arkansas, South Carolina, and Utah, among the reddest of red states, passed landmark legislation paving the way for expanding solar and wind power.

The bills these states enacted were all sponsored by Republicans, passed by Republican-controlled state legislatures, and approved by Republican governors. They were also bipartisan bills, getting support from Democrats, too.

Many Republican legislators still deny the scientific consensus around climate change and oppose policies to address the problem outright. But a recent study found that these red-state successes weren’t a fluke. The analysis, recently published in the journal Climatic Change, shows that states approved roughly 400 bills to reduce carbon emissions from 2015 to 2020. More than a quarter — 28 percent — passed through Republican-controlled legislatures.

“Even though some of these policies in red states might not be as ambitious as blue states, I just want people to know that things are happening,” said Renae Marshall, a co-author of the study and a doctoral student at the University of California, Santa Barbara, who is researching ways to reduce political polarization around environmental problems. Marshall hopes that her study could be instructive for collaboration at the federal level, where attempts at bipartisanship tend to be less successful.

In late April, Senator Joe Manchin, the Democrat from coal-friendly West Virginia who tanked his party’s climate and social policy package over concerns about government spending and inflation, started meeting with lawmakers to discuss a potential energy package that could muster up bipartisan support. At least five Republican senators have shown up so far, but securing the 10 Republican votes needed to pass a bill is a long shot. And if Democrats lose control of the House in the midterm elections, as expected, and possibly the Senate as well, any effort to pass climate legislation would require even more bipartisan cooperation.

Read the full article about passing climate legislation by Kate Yoder at Grist.