The “We Are Still In” coalition of US non-federal leaders set up in the immediate wake of President Donald Trump’s decision to pull the country out of the Paris Climate Agreement has this week doubled down on its commitment to spurn their President’s decision, committing to send delegations to COP23, the next round of UN Climate talks to be held in Bonn, Germany, next month.
Formed literally within days of Donald Trump’s groundbreaking decision to withdraw the United States from the Paris Climate Agreement, the We Are Still In coalition originally started life with 1,219 governors, mayors, businesses, investors, and colleges, and universities from across the US. Since then, that number has doubled, with now over 2,580 signatories — including 9 states and 252 cities and counties, 1,780 businesses and investors, and 339 colleges and universities, and 213 faith organizations.
In total, We Are Still In currently represents $6.2 trillion of the US economy and more than 130 million Americans, or 40% of the US population.
On Tuesday, We Are Still In revealed that it is out to assure world leaders that, despite President Trump and his administration’s hamfisted attempts to prop-up the US fossil fuel industry, America is still an ally in the fight against climate change. Specifically, the coalition announced its intention for a US Climate Action Center and a US Delegation of Climate Leaders at the next round of UN climate talks, COP23, to be held in Bonn, Germany, in November.
The We Are Still In coalition will set up a pavilion at COP23, the first of its kind and sponsored entirely by non-federal US actors, including Bloomberg Philanthropies and NextGen America. The pavilion will play host to a full roster of events starting on November 9, and will provide space for exhibitions from a wide variety of US organizations.
We Are Still In will also send a wide variety of delegates including state governors, mayors, and council members, as well as representatives from college campuses, businesses, and investors. Specifically, Governors of the US Climate Alliance, including Oregon Governor Kate Brown and Washington Governor Jay Inslee, are participating in the U.S. Climate Action Delegation alongside other leaders from public and private sectors. The US Climate Action Center and a US Delegation of Climate Leaders will also host a whole suite of events (a complete schedule can be found here) which include:
- America’s Pledge report launch, featuring Mike Bloomberg and Governor Jerry Brown (Nov. 11th)
- A Panel on Climate Impacts and Resiliency featuring US mayors and Senators (Nov. 11th)
- A Governors’ Panel: organized by the Climate Action Registry, Climate Action Reserve, and Georgetown (Nov. 14th)
- A Business Showcase (Nov. 15th)
“It’s critical for the world to know that the U.S. will continue to lead on climate change — and that we can fulfill our Paris commitments even without help from Washington,” said Michael Bloomberg, UN Special Envoy for Cities and Climate Change. “By pitching a big tent in Bonn, we are providing space for American mayors, governors and business leaders to collaborate with their counterparts around the world. In the U.S., progress on climate change has always been driven from the ground up, not the top down–and that’s what we’ll emphasize in Bonn.”
“Paris is everyone’s deal. It belongs to cities, businesses, nongovernmental organizations, and all of global civil society as much as it belongs to nation-states,” added Christiana Figueres, former Executive Secretary of UNFCCC. “So when President Trump attempted to destabilize the process by announcing his intent to withdraw, there was no domino effect of despair. Instead, he unleashed an inspirational counter-movement in support of the Paris Agreement, which is embodied so beautifully in the We Are Still In Campaign. It gives me great optimism to see this campaign taking things forward for the US at COP in Bonn this year.”
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