The state-based movement to continue meeting the goals of the Paris Agreement on climate change following President Trump’s choice to withdraw is making headway.
The U.S. Climate Alliance, as the group is called, said Wednesday that it is on track to meet and possibly surpass its portion of the Paris Agreement’s targets of a 24% to 29% reduction in greenhouse gas emission rates from 2005 levels by 2025. The Paris Agreement, which was adopted in 2015 by 195 countries, aims to reduce emissions in order to keep global warming below 2 degrees Celsius.
The bipartisan coalition of states was created by three Democratic governors — New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, California Gov. Jerry Brown and Washington Gov. Jay Inslee — after President Trump announced in June his plan to withdraw the U.S. from the international accord. North Carolina became the latest and 15th state to join the U.S. Climate Alliance, which also includes Puerto Rico. Additionally, two states with Republican governors, Massachusetts and Vermont, are part of the alliance. “Either we end this problem or this problem will end us,” Cuomo said during a press conference in New York, which was also attended by Brown, Inslee and former Secretary of State John Kerry.
In recent days, reports suggested that the Trump administration might be reconsidering its stance on the agreement, but the White House later issued a statement saying that there had been no change to the U.S.’s position. White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders also tweeted that the U.S. will withdraw “unless we get pro-America terms.”
During the press conference, the attendees lambasted the president’s choice to pull out of the agreement. “No burden was placed on the United States other than what we in the United States set for ourselves,” Kerry said. “He forfeited American leadership.”
The governors and Kerry also made repeated references to the hurricanes that have made landfall on U.S. soil — Harvey, Irma and now Maria — as well as the wildfires burning across the West Coast as an indication of what could occur if climate change worsens.
The U.S. Climate Alliance is just one way in which state governments are working to continue the U.S.’s commitment to the climate change agreement despite Trump’s actions. Cuomo touted New York’s Green Bank, a state-sponsored financial entity that aims to increase investment in clean energy markets, and said that the bank will be going national.
He also expressed interest in potentially working with California on a carbon market. The Golden State has already established a cap-and-trade program with the Canadian province of Quebec, with Ontario set to join the burgeoning market.
Source: Market Watch