Representatives of American cities, states and companies are preparing to submit a plan to the United Nations pledging to meet the United States’ greenhouse gas emissions targets under the Paris climate accord, despite President Trump’s decision to withdraw from the agreement.
The unnamed group — which, so far, includes 30 mayors, three governors, more than 80 university presidents and more than 100 businesses — is negotiating with the United Nations to have its submission accepted alongside contributions to the Paris climate deal by other nations. “We’re going to do everything America would have done if it had stayed committed,” Michael Bloomberg, the former New York City mayor who is coordinating the effort.
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There are 195 countries committed to reducing their greenhouse gas emissions as part of the 2015 agreement. Still, producing what Mr. Bloomberg described as a “parallel” pledge would indicate that leadership in the fight against climate change in the United States had shifted from the federal government to lower levels of government, academia and industry. Mr. Bloomberg, a United Nations envoy on climate, is a political independent who has been among the critics of Mr. Trump’s climate and energy policies. Mayors of cities including Los Angeles, Atlanta and Salt Lake City have signed on — along with Pittsburgh, which Mr. Trump mentioned in his speech announcing the withdrawal — as have Hewlett-Packard, Mars and dozens of other companies.
The World is Watching Cities, Now More than Ever. The US withdrawal from the Paris Climate Accord brought cities into the spotlight. Because cities and mayors are acting now, and we must be right beside them as they become necessary leaders in this vital cause.
As the world moves forward from Paris, we're showcasing stories that help explain why cities are so critically important for implementing on the goals set forth in that historic accord. See the world turning green in support of the Paris Climate Accord and the future of our planet.
After the Climate Accord was signed the road from Paris moved through member cities Beijing for the Second China-U.S. Climate-Smart Low-Carbon Cities Summit; Singapore for the World Cities Summit; Quito for Habitat III; and now culminates in Mexico City for the sixth biennial C40 Mayors Summit and C40 Cities Awards.
GLOBAL LEADERSHIP ON CLIMATE CHANGE: Deadline 2020
C40's most recent report analyses the contribution C40 cities can make to delivering the Paris Agreement objective of limiting global temperature rise to 1.5 degrees, and what is required during the critical period from now to 2020. With Trump pulling the United States out of the Paris Climate Accord the most powerful country in the world is now together with only two countries in the world that didn't sign the Paris Accord: Syria and Nicaragua (Nicaragua didn't sign the agreement as it believed it didn't go far enough). Several states in the US have decided to fulfll the Paris Accord agreement such as New York, California and Washington among others regardless of facing the abrupt show of "lack of leadership" from the President of the United States.
By President Trump pulling the United States out of the Paris climate treaty, he would hurt the planet, make people (especially children) sicker and aggravate geopolitical tensions. But you probably knew much of that. Less obviously, he will also do substantial damage to American interests — the country’s global power and its economy.
The exit from the Paris accord represents a remarkable lose-lose proposition: bad for the rest of the world and bad for the United States. This is lost on Trump and his aides for many reasons, but one is their oversimplified, zero-sum understanding of international affairs.
“The world is not a ‘global community,’” H.R. McMaster and Gary Cohn, two of the most highly regarded Trump advisers, wrote in The Wall Street Journal, “but an arena where nations, nongovernmental actors and businesses engage and compete for advantage.” If something is bad for the rest of the world, it’s probably good for America, according to this view.
The miserable irony of the Paris withdrawal is how bad it will actually be for the United States. An exit will, as Hannah Waters of the Audubon Society tweeted, “accelerate U.S. decline. World economy moves towards renewables; U.S. is being left behind.” Both Waters and John Upton of the nonprofit Climate Central noted that virtually the only industry that favors an exit from the accord is coal (and not even all of coal).
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Trump Announces the US Exit from the Paris Climate Accord
Buidings Around the World Go Green in Support of the Paris Climate Accord
Other energy industries understand that their future success depends on growing renewable energy. Trump, alas, seems happy to do coal’s bidding — at the expense of the rest of the country and the rest of the world. He probably won’t even succeed at bringing back many coal jobs, as Paul Krugman has written.
Is Important to Take Into Consideration:
— Waters’s Twitter feed, which points out that, even with an American exit, the accord today includes countries accounting for about 65 percent of global emissions; when it was ratified, that number —
including the United States — was 55 percent.
— A Rhodium Group report (via David Roberts), which points out that America’s “ability to meet its 2025 Paris commitment will depend in large part on the outcome of the 2020 Presidential election.”
— And the work of Michael Bloomberg and various groups connected with him, which emphasizes the impact that states, local governments, companies and others can still have on the climate.
THE POWER OF C40 CITIES: C40 cities have tremendous power to act on climate ambitions -- and their power only grows when they work together. C40 networks facilitate dialogue amongst city officials. This builds trusted relationships, which in turn ensures that ideas, solutions, lessons, questions, and even friendly competition can flow freely and responsively to cities' needs. Rather than end at a case study or report, C40 Networks create conversations, which enable cities to tailor their own actions to their unique situations, and band together to use their collective power to access partnership resources, including technical and financial support. The result is that cities' climate actions to reduce GHGs and climate risks are bolder, more impactful, implemented faster, at a lower cost and with less resources than if they were to go it alone. No other organisation facilitates such deep connections amongst city staff across 50+ countries, 20 time zones and 26 languages to accelerate local action with major global impact.
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