Thursday, 21 September, 2017

Defying Trump, Jerry Brown to showcase American climate change efforts

Jamey Stillings for TIME  Flickr
Desert Sunlight Solar Farm where 8 million solar panels power 160 000 California homes Jamey Stillings for TIME Flickr Desert Sunlight Solar Farm where 8 million solar panels power 160 000 California homes
Christy Curtis | 15 July, 2017, 01:38

As the Trump administration abandons progressive climate action in favor of deregulation, California Governor Jerry Brown and former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced a coalition of US states, cities and businesses committed to driving down greenhouse gas emissions "with or without Washington".

The pledge will not, however, replace the United States' commitment to the Paris agreement.

Since President Trump announced he will withdraw the United States from the Paris Climate Agreement, over 1,400 USA cities, states and businesses have stepped up to vow that they would do so independently of the federal government. "The U.S. Climate Alliance is committed to meeting the standards set forth in the Paris Agreement, regardless of Washington's irresponsible actions".

Nutall said that while the United Nations welcomes the initiative from US cities, states, and businesses, the challenge will be quantifying the effect of climate action from diverse and potentially overlapping actors, a process that will likely stretch well beyond this year's climate conference. In November, Brown and Bloomberg, along with other USA governors, mayors, and business leaders, will compile and showcase existing climate commitments of US subnational and non-state actors at COP23, to be hosted by the Government of Fiji in Bonn, Germany.

From the Real News file comes a digital milestone for the United States Climate Alliance, a coalition of states committed to upholding the tenets of the Paris climate accord. "We're already halfway there".

Now boasting 14 member states and territories - including Connecticut, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Vermont, Delaware, Virginia, Minnesota, Colorado, Oregon, Hawaii and Puerto Rico - representing 33 percent of the USA population, the alliance's No. 1 principle is continued support of the Paris Agreement, including the US goal of ultimately reducing greenhouse gas emissions roughly 28 percent from 2005 levels. The initiative announced Wednesday is called "America's Pledge". President Macron has been critical of Trump's approach to climate change.

Last weekend, the G20 Leaders' Declaration took note of the Trump Administration's decision to withdraw from the Paris Agreement, confirming that "it will immediately cease the implementation of its current nationally-determined contribution" while underscoring that "the Leaders of the other G20 members state that the Paris Agreement is irreversible". "If the federal government insists on abdicating leadership on this issue, it will be up to the American people to step forward - and in Virginia we are doing just that". Trump's departure from the Paris agreement may long roil the worldwide diplomatic community, but the parties behind Bloomberg and Brown's plan hope to develop a playbook for emissions reductions that will help the US meet its climate change agreements - whether or not it is a signatory to that treaty. According to the New York Times, the measurements will stretch through at least 2025 - the year that the United States, under President Obama, had pledged to meet its national commitment.

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