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In the days after Trump pulled out of the historic international climate agreement, bipartisan groups of officials from around the country are laying out plans to make create a clean economy in the U.S., regardless of the president’s policies.
Shortly after Trump announced his intent to withdraw from the Paris agreement on Thursday–saying that he “was elected to represent the citizens of Pittsburgh, not Paris”–the mayor of Pittsburgh reaffirmed his city’s support for the agreement (and pointed out that his constituents voted overwhelmingly for Clinton). By the end of the day, 82 U.S. mayors had signed a pledge to adopt the agreement. By Monday, that number had grown to more than 200.
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In a separate declaration released on Monday called We Are Still In, a group of 125 mayors, nine governors, 183 university presidents, and 902 businesses, including Apple, Google, Ikea, and Target, said that they continued to support climate action–and many leaders believe that it will be possible to meet the U.S.’s original pledge to reduce emissions, despite Trump.
What this [withdrawal] is immediately doing is creating a galvanizing moment,” says Seth Schultz, director of research, measurement, and planning for C40, a global network of megacities committed to fighting climate change. “You’ve just seen this very swift and immediate response saying the Trump administration pulls out of this, but America is not stepping away from this–from our commitment, from our responsibility to each other and to the rest of the world.”
The governors of New York, California, and Washington, states that represent more than 20% of the U.S. population (and about 10% of the total emissions), also launched a new alliance called the Climate Alliance pledging to meet the goals of the Paris agreement. Thirteen states had joined by Monday. Seventeen governors also released individual statements in support of the agreement.
Bloomberg Philanthropies will donate $15 million to the UN agency that coordinates the operations of the Paris agreement–money that it won’t be getting from the U.S. federal government–and will then work with all the cities, states, and businesses that take climate action to measure their plans to reduce emissions, and submit a new pledge totalling those commitments, along with reports on progress, to the UN.
While only nations are officially party to the Paris agreement, Patricia Espinosa, the executive secretary of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), said in a press release that the organization “welcomes the determination and commitment” from cities, states, and businesses. According to a representative from Bloomberg Philanthropies, the UN will accept the emissions reduction numbers reported by the new organization even though it is not a national government. The group’s pledge and reports will be in parallel to what the federal government was supposed to provide (and is still supposed to provide until the U.S. officially withdraws, a process that will likely take until November 2020).