The prospect of California’s elevated role on climate change is the latest sign of how this state, where Hillary Clinton defeated Mr. Trump by more than four million votes, is preparing to resist the policies of the incoming White House. State and city officials have already vowed to fight any attempt by Washington to crack down on undocumented immigrants; Los Angeles officials last week set aside $10 million to help fund the legal costs of residents facing deportation.
The environmental effort poses decided risks for this state. For one thing, Mr. Trump and Republicans have the power to undercut California’s climate policies. The Trump administration could reduce funds for the state’s vast research community — including two national laboratories — which has contributed a great deal to climate science and energy innovation, or effectively nullify state regulations on clean air emissions and automobile fuel standards.
“They could basically stop enforcement of the Clean Air Act and CO2 emissions,” said Hal Harvey, president of Energy Innovation, a policy research group in San Francisco. “That would affect California because it would constrain markets. It would make them fight political and legal battles rather than scientific and technological ones.”