Less than a week after Donald Trump announced that he was planning to withdraw the United States from the important Paris Climate Agreement, more than 1,000 mayors, governors, state attorneys general, CEOs, and other prominent US persons have joined in a movement called We Are Still In that does exactly what you think it does — assure the world that they still recognize the goals of the Paris Climate Agreement.
I covered the news yesterday that the Mayors National Climate Action Agenda, also known as the Climate Mayors, had not only committed themselves to the Paris Climate Agreement but that their number increased from 61 to over 200 within just two days. In fact, ever since it was rumored last week that Trump would withdraw from the climate accords, mayors and governors all around the country have been thumbing their nose at the president and signing executive orders or making public declarations that they would nevertheless adhere to the goals enshrined in the Paris Climate Agreement.
Of all of these, the most striking is likely Pittsburgh Mayor William Peduto. Pittsburgh, of course, was brought to light by President Trump himself, when he said that he had been “elected to represent the citizens of Pittsburgh, not Paris.” Mayor Peduto, however, almost immediately signed an executive order that committed the city of Pittsburgh to adhere to the accords.
None of this is surprising, of course, as many US governors, mayors, and other leaders have made it very clear that they disagreed with Donald Trump’s plans and decision to withdraw from the accords — as did numerous polls which confirmed their constituents agreed with their decisions.
So it should come as no further surprise that Monday, a new movement called We Are Still In representing (as of writing) 1,219 governors, mayors, businesses, investors, and colleges, and universities from across the US, came into being, declaring that they and their institutions and districts will remain committed to ambitious action on climate change, even though the country’s federal leadership has eschewed such decisions. Specifically, the group penned an open letter “to the international community and parties to the Paris Agreement” that attempted to reassure the world that not everyone in the United States was abdicating responsibility for the climate, and that they would “continue to support climate action to meet the Paris Agreement.” The letter declares that “The Trump administration’s announcement undermines a key pillar in the fight against climate change and damages the world’s ability to avoid the most dangerous and costly effects of climate change. Importantly, it is also out of step with what is happening in the United States.”
In fact, according to the group, those that have signed on to We Are Still In are, in aggregate, able to deliver concrete emissions reductions that will help the country meet its emissions pledge under the Paris Agreement.
“Today, on behalf of an unprecedented collection of U.S. cities, states, businesses and other organizations, I am communicating to the United Nations and the global community that American society remains committed to achieving the emission reductions we pledged to make in Paris in 2015,” said Mike Bloomberg, the United Nations Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for Cities and Climate Change, who was part of the team that created We Are Still In.
“I am confident the broad array of leaders and organizations that have signed today’s declaration, and many others that will join in the days to come, will work together to reduce U.S. carbon emissions by 26 percent by 2025, just as we had pledged in Paris. These groups will take vigorous and ambitious actions to address climate change, and we will communicate those actions in a transparent and accountable way to the UN. The United States can, and will, meet its commitment under the Paris Agreement.”
Signatories of the We Are Still In declaration include leaders from 125 cities, 9 states, 902 businesses and investors, and 183 colleges and universities. Participating cities and states represent over 120 million Americans, and contribute $6.2 trillion to the US economy, so their declaration of intent is not without merit, or pressure and authority. Meanwhile, the businesses and investors represent a total annual revenue of $1.4 trillion and include more than 20 Fortune 500 companies. (For the full list of signatories, click here.)
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