SACRAMENTO, Calif. (CN) – 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 U.S. states, cities and businesses committed to driving down greenhouse gas emissions “with or without Washington.”
The coalition, dubbed “The American Pledge” seeks to uphold the United States’ climate commitments from the Paris Climate Agreement, which President Trump announced a withdrawal from on June 1st.
Former President Barack Obama, a supporter of the Paris agreement, had pledged that the United States would cut its greenhouse gas emissions by as much as 28 percent by 2020.
With “The America’s Pledge” initiative, Brown and Bloomberg hope to “demonstrate continued climate leadership across U.S. society, and that sub-national action can significantly reduce U.S. greenhouse gas emissions at a time of limited federal leadership,” according to a Wednesday press release.
“[W]e’re sending a clear message to the world that America’s states, cities and businesses are moving forward with our country’s commitments under the Paris Agreement – with or without Washington,” Brown said in the release.
Former New York mayor and current United Nations Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for Cities and Climate Change, Bloomberg declared, “Reducing emissions is good for the economy and good for public health. The American government may have pulled out of the Paris Agreement, but American society remains committed to it – and we will redouble our efforts to achieve its goals. We’re already halfway there.”
In 2015, the United States’ pledged the country to reduce emissions 26-28 percent against 2005 levels by 2025 in its “Nationally Determined Contribution.”
The “America’s Pledge” initiative includes an analytical effort lead by the Rocky Mountain Institute and the World Resources Institute.
In the buildup to pulling out of the Paris deal, Trump claimed that the agreement was bad for jobs and the American economy, calling it “draconian” and “unfair to the United States at the highest level.”
“This agreement is less about the climate and more about the rest of the world gaining a financial advantage over the United States,” Trump said.
According to a letter to United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres & Executive Secretary of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change Patricia Espinosa, less than 24 hours after Trump announced the United States’ withdrawal from the climate agreement, Bloomberg met with French President Emmanuel Macron and Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo at the Élysée Palace to reassure the world leaders that Americans are still committed to reaching the United States’ climate goals.
In immediate response to the Paris agreement withdrawal, hundreds of U.S. states, cities, businesses, and colleges and universities reaffirmed their support for the Paris Agreement through collaborations including the “We Are Still In” declaration, the Climate Mayors coalition of cities, the U.S. Climate Alliance group of states, and others.
In a statement for the coalition of pro-Paris Agreement signatories We Are Still In, Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe challenged Trump’s decision to retreat from the climate deal. “President Trump’s announcement to withdraw the United States from the Paris Climate Agreement does not speak for the states and cities that are committed to fighting climate change and paving the way for a new energy economy,” McAuliffe wrote. “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.”