The U.S. government may want to withdraw from the Paris Agreement, but these states and cities are still committed to climate progress.
12 states and Puerto Rico have become members of the U.S. Climate Alliance and remain committed to achieving existing CO2 emission reduction goals. Officials from 10 states and the District of Columbia pledged to follow the Paris Agreement but have not formally joined the alliance. Across the country, 274 cities and counting have signed on to the Mayors National Climate Action Agenda, which asserts their commitment to lowering emissions at the local level.
As the aftershocks of the Trump administration’s June 1 rejection of the Paris Agreement continue to rumble, groups across the United States have rebelled against the decision to withdraw from the the international climate pact.
States, cities, businesses, philanthropies, and universities have vowed to fill the void that the U.S. federal government makes if it departs from the accord or ignores its voluntary targets: a 26 to 28-percent reduction in the country’s carbon emissions by 2025, relative to 2005 levels, and further cuts thereafter.
Already, billionaire philanthropist and former New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg has pledged to donate $15 million to the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change, in order to help fill any funding gaps created by the Trump administration’s departure.
The same day as Trump’s announcement, the states of New York, California, and Washington announced the formation of the United States Climate Alliance. The coalition aims to uphold U.S. commitments under the Paris Agreement, and it also says it wants to meet or exceed the Clean Power Plan, an Obama-era EPA rule on power plant emissions.
As of June 7, the U.S. Climate Alliance has amassed 12 states and Puerto Rico, collectively representing more than a hundred million Americans and a third of the U.S. GDP. One member state, Hawaii, passed a law on June 6 formally committing the state to the Paris Agreement. Jerry Brown, the governor of member state California, has positioned himself as the U.S.’s de facto climate leader, attending meetings on climate change with leading Chinese officials at a recent clean-energy conference.
Separately, U.S. states, state attorneys general, cities, businesses, and universities have banded together into a coalition called We Are Still In. The group, spearheaded by Bloomberg, has signatories from 125 cities, nine states, 183 colleges and universities, and 902 businesses. The group says that it represents 120 million Americans and $6.2 trillion in contributions to the U.S. economy.
In addition, 274 U.S. mayors representing 58 million Americans have signed onto a statement prepared by the Mayors National Climate Action Agenda (MNCAA) network to uphold the Paris Agreement, as of the evening of June 7, 2017.
If the U.S. follows through with its pledge to formally withdraw from the pact, which cannot happen formally until November 4, 2020, the country would join just two others—Syria and Nicaragua—as non-parties to the agreement. (Find out how withdrawing from Paris could isolate the U.S. from the world.)
Among the three countries, the U.S. would stand alone in withdrawing from the accord. The other two countries never joined: Nicaragua didn’t feel as though the Paris Agreement was ambitious enough, and a vicious civil war and international sanctions left Syria unable to attend the negotiations.