“It has become firmly, intensively partisan,” said Barry Rabe, an expert on environmental policy from the University of Michigan.
“Some of the same patterns that we have been looking at for a couple of decades now at the federal level are increasingly manifest in many, if not all, states.”
It was not always like this.
Rabe sees the mid-to-late-2000s as a turning point for partisanship in state environmental policy.
He believes that one major reason for this shift was the expansion of fracking.
Before fracking became viable around 2005, weaning the USA off oil and gas was often framed as a national security issue – more renewables meant less reliance on imports from foreign powers like Saudi Arabia and Russia.
States not usually considered progressive were powering ahead with alternative energy.
Under Governor George W. Bush, for instance, Texas came to lead the country in wind generation.
But new fracking technology reversed this equation.
The USA could suddenly produce vast quantities of fossil fuels, and an emphasis on gas and oil meant “energy independence.”
It also spelled huge, easy payouts for Republican-controlled states like Texas, which had large natural fossil fuel reserves.
Belief in climate change cratered soon afterwards.
Between Fall 2008 and Spring 2010, the number of Americans who thought there was solid evidence of a warming climate fell from 72% to 52%, a “staggering drop” unparalleled anywhere else in the world.
Today, belief is back at roughly 2008 levels, but the sudden loss of conviction in the early 2010s is striking nonetheless.
What caused this change is debated, but Rabe believes that the shifting economic incentives for fossil fuels were a major factor.
Rabe points out that several significant legislative efforts to combat climate change also lost their steam around this time.
Carbon cap-and-trade schemes, which aim to provide economic incentives for reducing CO2 emissions, had been a bipartisan effort.
But they became anathema to Republican states in the space of a few short years.
“Between 2010 and 2018, not only did no states add on to cap-and-trade, but many of the states abandoned their earlier commitments,” said Rabe.
“The entire Midwestern cap-and-trade effort has disappeared. California lost all of its American partners.”
The Northeastern cap-and-trade agreement has continued, he said, but “all of these are exclusively or predominantly Democratic states.”
It is important to note that this widening chasm on environmental issues coincided with increasing partisanship on a whole number of issues, such as immigration and healthcare.
Republicans’ renewed enthusiasm for fossil fuels may well have had economic underpinnings, but environmentalism also became one more battleground in which they could prove their difference from the Democrats.
The data from Climate Cabinet Action suggests that this trend towards state partisanship has continued to deepen throughout the past five years.
Climate scepticism crept into the mainstream a decade ago with anti-Obama movements like the Tea Party, but seems to have flourished as official Republican doctrine under Trump.
Despite this fraught national picture, not all states are equally polarized.
Some have managed to continue passing bipartisan environmental legislation even throughout the last few years.
In some states, like Connecticut, South Carolina, and Georgia, the gap between Republican and Democrat votes is smaller than one might imagine.
South Carolina has one of the smallest gaps between Republican and Democrat green voting records.
Rebecca Haynes, Deputy Director of the non-profit Conservation Voters of South Carolina, attributes the success of bipartisan bills in the state to hard work, effective communication between parties, and the framing of issues in ways palatable to both sides.
“There are words that have too much baggage with them, and they will shut people down,” said Haynes.
Instead of immediately talking about “climate change,” she said, her group would emphasise the aspects of environmental bills that appeal to both Democrats and Republicans – job creation, conservation, and market competition.
This strategy has led to a number of successes, such as the closure of coal plants in South Carolina and the passing of the Energy Freedom Act, which will lead to increased investment in solar power.
Even so, Haynes has noticed increased polarization in South Carolina as well, and works constantly to overcome it.
“I think we're more partisan right now than we have been in a long time,” said Haynes.
“There's been a loss of moderate Dems and a loss of moderate Republicans.
I've just seen everybody staking their stuff out even further, you know?”
With climate disasters hitting Americans everywhere more and more frequently, it remains to be seen whether this trend will continue.
For Senator Bateman and legislators like him, the ramifications of continued polarization are deeply troubling.
“The earth is definitely getting warmer,” he said.
“I may be okay in my lifetime, but I worry about my grandson. I worry about the kind of world he is going to have.”