New Subnational Coalitions Demonstrate Leadership After Paris Withdraw

June 5, 2017

Several governors and a growing number of U.S. leaders have announced they are committed to the Paris climate agreement. In three major announcements, these leaders pledged to reduce carbon pollution and to fill the leadership void left by President Trump's withdrawal from the agreement.

"We Are Still In" Coalition Launches

A broad, multi-sectoral coalition, entitled "We Are Still In," launched June 5, 2017. The coalition includes leaders from 125 cities, 9 states, 902 businesses and investors, and 183 colleges and universities.

The participating states of California, Connecticut, North Carolina, Oregon, New York, Rhode Island, Virginia, Washington, and Hawaii - along with participating cities like New York, Los Angeles, Houston, and Pittsburgh - represent 120 million Americans and contribute $6.2 trillion to the U.S. economy. A diverse set of private universities, state schools and community colleges have added their institutions to the statement. Businesses and investors that signed onto the statement account for total annual revenue of $1.4 trillion and include more than 20 Fortune 500 companies, including Apple, eBay, Gap Inc., Google, Intel, Microsoft, and Nike, in addition to hundreds of small businesses.

This initial group welcomes new signatories in the upcoming days and weeks. The Georgetown Climate Center is one of several organizations that helped support the coalition's launch.

U.S. Climate Alliance Expands

The United States Climate Alliance, which is committed to upholding the Paris Agreement and taking aggressive action on climate change, now includes 14 states and territories. Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Oregon, Puerto Rico, Rhode Island, Vermont, and Virginia announced June 5 that they had joined the coalition. Colorado joined the Alliance on July 11, 2017.

Governors from California, New York, and Washington formed the Alliance following the President's decision on the Paris Agreement. This group of states have committed to achieving the U.S. goal of reducing emissions 26-28 percent from 2005 levels and meeting or exceeding the targets of the federal Clean Power Plan.  

Below are statements from states participating in the U.S. Climate Alliance:

"Those of us who understand science and feel the urgency of protecting our children's air and water are as united as ever in confronting one of the greatest challenges of our lifetime,” Gov. Jay Inslee said. “Our collective efforts to act on climate will ensure we maintain the United State's commitment to curb carbon pollution while advancing a clean energy economy that will bring good-paying jobs to America's workers."

“The President has already said climate change is a hoax, which is the exact opposite of virtually all scientific and worldwide opinion,” California Gov. Edmund G. Brown, Jr. said. “I don't believe fighting reality is a good strategy – not for America, not for anybody. If the President is going to be AWOL in this profoundly important human endeavor, then California and other states will step up.”

“As the federal government turns its back on the environment, New York and states across the country are picking up the mantle of climate leadership and showing the world it’s possible to address climate change while also creating good-paying careers,” New York Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo said. “The U.S. Climate Alliance is committed to meeting the standards set forth in the Paris Accord regardless of Washington’s irresponsible actions. We welcome these 9 new members and look forward to collaborating and maintaining the momentum in the global effort to protect our planet, while jumpstarting the clean energy economy.”

“Connecticut has been a national leader in combating climate change and we have no plans of slowing down our efforts,” Connecticut Gov. Dannel P. Malloy said. “In the absence of leadership from the White House in addressing climate change, it is incumbent upon the states to take action in order to protect their residents. We remain committed to meeting the standards set forth in the Paris Climate Agreement because it is the right thing to do for not only the future of our state, but for the future of our planet. I am proud to stand with my fellow governors in support of efforts to reverse the harmful effects of global warming and to send a message to the rest of the world that we accept the science of climate change and we will not let the misguided beliefs of a few ruin our planet.”

"Delaware is the country’s lowest-lying state and with 381 miles of coastline, climate change is a very real threat to our future,” Delaware Gov. John Carney said. "As sea levels rise, more than 17,000 Delaware homes, nearly 500 miles of roadway and thousands of acres of wildlife habitat including our critical wetlands are at risk of permanent inundation. Rising average temperatures and an increase in extreme weather events also pose health risks to Delawareans, and threaten our economy. The U.S. should lead in the global fight against climate change. Delaware is proud to join this coalition of states providing that necessary leadership."

“As the Commonwealth reiterates its commitment to exceed the emission reduction targets of the Paris Climate Agreement, today we join the U.S. Climate Alliance to expand on our efforts while partnering with other states to combat climate change,” Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker said. “After speaking with Governors Cuomo and Scott, our administration looks forward to continued, bipartisan collaboration with other states to protect the environment, grow the economy and deliver a brighter future to the next generation."

"I am very pleased to announce that Minnesota will join the U.S. Climate Alliance, to uphold the tenets of the Paris Climate Change Agreement in our state," Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton said. "President Trump’s withdrawal will cause serious damage to our environment and our economy. Nevertheless, Minnesota and other states will show the world what we can achieve by working together to conserve energy, to use cleaner and renewable energy, and to leave a livable planet to our children and grandchildren."

“The ‘America First’ doctrine should put our children first too," Oregon Gov. Kate Brown said. “Future generations deserve to inherit a world they can thrive in, not one that plays politics and ignores the fact our climate is changing. Despite the decision by the White House to retreat, it is our moral obligation to fulfill the goals of the Paris Agreement. Oregon will continue to make meaningful strides, with the rest of the world, to ensure our communities and economies adapt to meet the challenge of climate change."

“Climate change is a real problem for all and requires immediate action to ensure future generations are left with a sustainable planet,” Puerto Rico Gov. Ricardo Rosselló said. Our administration is committed to protecting the environment. As a Governor, who is also a scientist, I value science and data as primary tools in the decision making process. As such, I strongly oppose the withdrawal from the Paris Agreement. Our administration understands that all policy decisions, even those perceived to being small, can have big, lasting effects on our planet. Puerto Rico, an Island that 3.4 million American Citizens call home, would suffer greatly from the devastating effects of rising sea levels. But we all stand to lose if we don't take meaningful action right now. We call upon all public officials across our nation to continue to support rules and regulations that protect our environment. As most of the world moves forward, our nation cannot sit idle and lag behind.”

"President Trump's decision to withdraw from the Paris Agreement was a tremendous mistake. Rhode Island may be a small state, but climate change can have a big impact on our communities," Rhode Island Gov. Gina M. Raimondo said. "We are determined to fight climate change from the front lines so that we can preserve our environment - including our Narragansett Bay - for future generations and create good-paying, future-proof jobs in the process. I'm proud to join Governors Cuomo, Brown and Inslee in this effort and hope other governors - from both parties - join as well."

“Growing our economy and protecting our environment by supporting cleaner and more affordable energy and transportation choices can go together,” Vermont Gov. Phil Scott said. “If our national government isn’t willing to lead in this area, the states are prepared to step up and lead. I look forward to supporting continued bipartisan cooperation on these matters and thank Governor Baker, Governor Inslee, Governor Cuomo and Governor Brown for working collaboratively on this important issue.”

“As the first state in the Trump era to take executive action to limit carbon emissions and create clean energy jobs, Virginia is proud to join the Climate Alliance,” Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe said. “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. 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."

 

12 Leading Research Universities Reaffirm their Commitment to Progress on Climate Change

In a separate statement, 12 major universities also reaffirmed their commitment today to accelerate the global transition to low-carbon energy while enhancing sustainable and resilient practices on their campuses. The group declared that their commitment is consistent with the Paris Agreement and recognizes the concerted action that is needed at every level to slow, and ultimately prevent, the rise in the global average temperature.

The statement was signed by the presidents of the following schools: Brown University, Columbia University, Cornell University, Dartmouth University, Duke University, Georgetown University, Harvard University, Johns Hopkins University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Stanford University, the University of Pennsylvania, and Yale University.