12 Governors Urge Trump to Stay in Paris Agreement, Keep U.S. Commitments

May 3, 2017

Following climate marches by hundreds of thousands of Americans over the weekend, 12 U.S. governors are urging President Trump to remain in the Paris Climate Agreement and keep the United States' commitment to reduce greenhouse gas emissions 26-28 percent below 2005 levels by 2025.

Governors from California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Minnesota, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Virginia, and Washington signed onto the letter, which was sent to the White House this morning. The Georgetown Climate Center worked with states to facilitate this letter.

Text from today's letter to President Trump follows:

We write as Governors of 12 states that are home to 107 million Americans and comprise approximately 38 percent of the nation’s GDP, to urge you to keep the United States in the Paris Climate Agreement. Given the progress our states have made in reducing greenhouse gas emissions, we are convinced that the United States’ goal of 26-28 percent below 2005 levels is readily achievable. Maintaining the U.S. commitment is essential to protect our residents, and indeed, all Americans from the potentially catastrophic impacts of a changing climate.

We see our climate changing today through rising sea levels, increasing flooding, drought, and decreasing snow cover. These changes are causing forest fires and water shortages, adding to air pollution levels, and accelerating the spread of disease-carrying pests and causing illness and death from extreme weather patterns, amongst other impacts. Our states stand to bear the brunt of these climate change impacts and the economic costs running in the tens of billions of dollars or more.

We stand ready as state leaders to continue to support the achievement of the existing U.S. Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) to the Paris Agreement—and if possible to go further, faster. The policies we are implementing that support the U.S.’s achievement of its Paris commitment not only cut carbon pollution—they also create jobs, boost competitiveness, and bring clean energy and a cleaner environment to our citizens. These benefits can and should accrue to all Americans.

Collective action to limit emissions world-wide is critical; without collaboration, climate change will cost the world’s nations several trillion dollars in damages. Under the Paris Agreement, all the world’s major economies are taking action on climate change for the first time, including China and India, which have put forward their own commitments to cut their carbon pollution domestically. If the U.S. does not maintain global climate leadership through national policies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and transition to clean energy, China and India will. This would be a huge lost opportunity, putting us at a competitive disadvantage and potentially locking us into technologies and economic pathways that are increasingly obsolete while China and India reap the benefits of low-carbon leadership.

In each of our states, the path forward is clear. Our citizens demand the low-cost, clean-air benefits that a clean energy transition can provide. Our leading U.S. companies recognize the need to address business risks and opportunities through the Paris Agreement, and are wisely investing in low-carbon fuels and technologies to stay on the cutting edge of the global economy. Our track record—reducing carbon pollution while growing jobs and our economies—provides proof that we need not sacrifice opportunity for action. Indeed, we can secure that opportunity only by continuing to lead.

Click here to view the transmitted version of the letter.

 

 

Additional Governor Statements

 

California

Press Release by Gov. Jerry Brown

 

Colorado

Press Release by Gov. John Hickenlooper

“Remaining in the Paris Agreement is crucial to Colorado’s future,” said Governor John Hickenlooper. “Clean energy is a win for Colorado jobs, a win for Colorado consumers, and a win for cleaner air. We look forward to continuing our progress and working with this administration to create 21st century jobs for a 21st century workforce.” 

 

Connecticut

Press Release by Gov. Dannel Malloy

“In addition to the positive environmental impact that the Paris Climate Agreement will have, the inclusion of the United States will maintain our nation’s global leadership role in developing clean energy technology and benefiting from the high-quality jobs that come with it,” Governor Malloy said. “Putting our heads in the sand and letting other nations outpace our country in this sector is a formula for disaster, and that is exactly what will happen if we pull out of this agreement.”

  

Colorado

Press Release by Gov. John Hickenlooper

“Remaining in the Paris Agreement is crucial to Colorado’s future,” said Governor John Hickenlooper. “Clean energy is a win for Colorado jobs, a win for Colorado consumers, and a win for cleaner air. We look forward to continuing our progress and working with this administration to create 21st century jobs for a 21st century workforce.” 

 

Delaware

Press Release by John Carney

“The effects of climate change are already taking a toll on Delawareans. As a low-lying coastal state, Delaware is vulnerable to damage from sea level rise, stronger storm surges, and routine flooding. These threats will only increase if we don’t work together to reduce the human emissions of greenhouse gases that feed rapid climate change. I stand with my fellow governors to strongly urge the President to take the path to a healthy and sustainable future by joining with a dedicated global community through the Paris Agreement.” 

 

New York

Press Release by Gov. Andrew Cuomo

"New York’s aggressive efforts to combat climate change are essential to protecting and preserving our state and nation’s precious natural resources for future generations," Governor Cuomo said. "New York cannot combat climate change alone and today I’ve joined my fellow Governors in urging continued U.S. participation in the Paris Climate Agreement – the United States must lead the charge in uniting the most powerful nations across the globe in the fight against climate change."

 

Oregon

Press Release by Gov. Kate Brown

 

Pennsylvania

 

Virginia

Press Release by Gov. Terry McAuliffe

“As both the Chair of the National Governors Association and the Chief Executive of the Commonwealth, I have seen firsthand the devastating and costly consequences of climate change both within Virginia and across the country,” said Governor McAuliffe. “National leadership on this issue is imperative to preserve our national security, our economy, and our way of life. I urge the President to honor the Paris Climate Agreement and keep our nation on track to meet the achievable goals it set.” 

 

Washington

Press Release by Gov. Jay Inslee

“Climate change is already affecting our state and nation in damaging ways, and an international response at all levels of government is essential to avoiding its worst impacts. American leadership is crucial to the success of that international effort, and continued U.S. participation in the Paris Agreement is our nation’s moral responsibility.

“Washington state is taking action to reduce carbon pollution and to build a more prosperous, sustainable, secure and competitive clean energy economy for our state. We are pleased to partner with other states who are also working to reduce carbon pollution. But we need a partner in the federal government.

“President Trump will soon decide whether the U.S. will continue to be a world leader in the 21st century, or whether it will cede that leadership to nations such as China and India. I and my fellow governors encourage him to make the right choice.”