Published on November 13th, 2017 | by Joshua S Hill0
Sans Trump, America Reaffirms Commitment To Paris Agreement At COP23
November 13th, 2017 by Joshua S Hill
California Governor Jerry Brown joined United Nations Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for Cities and Climate Change Michael Bloomberg on Saturday to reaffirm the commitment of American states, cities, and businesses, to the Paris Climate Agreement, despite the fact that US President Donald Trump officially pulled the United States out of the Accords in June.
In addition, the two leaders welcomed the State of Virginia to the Under2 Coalition — a group of governments from around the world committed to tackling climate change.
In late October, the ‘We Are Still In’ coalition revealed its plans for the upcoming 23rd Conference of the Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP23), including its intention to send a US Delegation of Climate Leaders and erect a US Climate Action Center pavilion.
Saturday, Governor Jerry Brown and Michael Bloomberg launched “America’s Pledge on climate change” — a new initiative intended to identify and quantify the actions of states, cities, and business throughout the United States aimed at driving down their respective greenhouse gas emissions in line with the goals of the Paris Agreement.
“When cities and states combine together and then join with powerful corporations, that’s how we get stuff done,” said Governor Brown at today’s event at the US Climate Action Pavilion, a purpose-built exhibition space sponsored by US non-federal leaders at COP23. “We’re here, we’re in and we’re not going away.”
“Today we’re sending a clear message to the world that America’s states, cities and businesses are moving forward with our country’s commitments under the Paris Agreement — with or without Washington,” added Governor Brown, who was recently named Special Advisor for States and Regions ahead of the United Nations’ 23rd Conference of the Parties to the Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP23).
The America’s Pledge initiative will for the first time aggregate the commitments of states, cities, businesses, colleges and universities, and other non-Party actors in a report detailing the full extent of climate-related activities across American society and business.
“In the US, emission levels are determined far more by cities, states, and businesses than they are by our federal government — and each of these groups is taking action because it’s in their own best interest,” explained Michael Bloomberg, the United Nations Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for Cities and Climate Change. “Reducing emissions is good for the economy and good for public health. The American government may have pulled out of the Paris Agreement, but American society remains committed to it — and we will redouble our efforts to achieve its goals. We’re already halfway there.”
Governor Brown and Bloomberg will work to demonstrate and enact climate leadership across America regardless of the top-down apathy of Donald Trump and Co., while simultaneously proving that sub-national efforts can significantly reduce the country’s greenhouse gas emissions.
Further, and commissioned by Brown and Bloomberg, the Rocky Mountain Institute and the World Resources Institute will work together to lead an analytical effort to support America’s Pledge.
America’s Pledge also launched a new report, which highlighted the fact that the total number of non-federal actors, which numbers more than 2,500, represent more than half of the United States’ economy, and if they were their own country they would be the world’s third-largest economy.
“The group of American cities, states, and businesses who remain committed to the Paris Agreement represents a bigger economy than any nation outside the US and China,” said Bloomberg. “Together they are helping deliver on the promise of the agreement and ensuring the US remains a global leader in the fight against climate change. In Paris, the US pledged to measure and report our progress reducing emissions alongside every other nation. Through America’s Pledge, we’re doing just that, and we’re going to continue to uphold our end of the deal, with or without Washington.”
The announcement and launch of America’s Pledge was not an insider affair, and the event at the US Climate Action Pavilion was attended by United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) Executive Secretary Patricia Espinosa, COP23 President Prime Minister of Fiji Frank Bainimarama, as well as Senators Ben Cardin of Maryland, Ed Markey of Massachusetts, as well as Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto, Walmart Senior Vice President of Sustainability Laura Phillips and California’s Secretary for Environmental Protection Matt Rodriquez.
“If the challenge of climate change is to be solved and the opportunities of a low carbon transition harvested we need all sectors of society in all nations fully on board,” said UNFCCC Executive Secretary Espinosa. “Cities, states, regions and territories have, along with business and civil society, been an inspiration before, during, at and following Paris. Here I want to pay tribute to Jerry Brown, California’s Governor, UN Special Envoy Michael Bloomberg and all the states and cities of the USA who have been aligning their pledges and actions with the Paris Climate Change Agreement. You are part of an unstoppable movement that is stretching North and South, East and West. With greater speed, ever higher ambition and by joining hands with all actors world-wide, we can together reach our shared goals.”
“To achieve the goals of the Paris Agreement, we are helping to build a Grand Coalition to accelerate climate action across all nations and at every level of society,” said COP23 President Prime Minister Bainimarama. “So I am delighted to welcome the commitments that have been made through America’s Pledge from members of that coalition in the US among the non-state actors such as governors and mayors. This imaginative initiative by Governor Brown and Michael Bloomberg shows that the campaign for climate action in America remains strong. I also hope that it is a model that can be followed elsewhere in the world as we bring everyone together to pursue a more ambitious response to the challenge of climate change.”