The Cable

Cities, States and Companies Vow to Stick to the Paris Climate Agreement

The move puts a number of politicians and business leaders at odds with the White House.

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President Donald Trump left the Paris climate accords Thursday, joining Syria and Nicaragua as the only nations outside of the pact meant to curb climate change. On Friday, a host of U.S. states, cities, and companies vowed to live up to the terms of the deal.

According to a report in the New York Times, a group of mayors, governors, companies and university presidents are planning to submit a plan to the United Nations that would outline how they would meet greenhouse gas emission targets as stipulated by the deal. When former President Barack Obama signed the pact in 2015, he pledged by 2025 to lower greenhouse gas emissions by 26 to 28 percent below their 2005 levels.

This group includes 30 mayors, three governors, more than 100 businesses and more than 80 presidents of American universities. In addition, former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg also vowed to put up $15 million of his own money to help the group meet the terms of the voluntary pact.

“Mayors, governors, and business leaders from both political parties are signing onto to a statement of support that we will submit to the U.N. — and together, we will reach the emission reduction goals the United States made in Paris in 2015,” Bloomberg said in a statement. “Americans will honor and fulfill the Paris Agreement by leading from the bottom up — and there isn’t anything Washington can do to stop us.”

On Thursday, a group of 83 mayors, representing cities such as Los Angeles, Salt Lake City, Atlanta, and Pittsburgh, separately pledged to meet Paris commitments. University presidents from Emory, Brandeis and Wesleyan are on board, the governors of New York, California and Washington have signed up, and companies, such as Hewlett-Packard and Mars, have also joined the group.

Trump said he pulled out of the deal to save American jobs from being shipped overseas. He also said that the pact puts the United States at the mercy of foreign powers; in fact, the agreement is voluntary. He said he was leaving the pact to help the people of Pittsburgh, not Paris, despite the fact that the Steel City has successfully shifted away from heavy manufacturing to a robust economy fueled by the tech, healthcare, and higher-learning sectors.

In the wake of Trump’s exit, China, the European Union and other countries around the world have reaffirmed their commitment to the accord, leaving the U.S. on a diplomatic island with only Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega (and to be fair to Ortega, his country didn’t join because the accords weren’t strong enough).

Photo credit: ERIC PIERMONT/Getty Images

 

David Francis was a senior reporter for Foreign Policy, where he covered international finance. @davidcfrancis

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