- The United States is almost halfway toward achieving the goals of the Paris climate accord, thanks to the efforts of state and city government, a new report says.
- The report, entitled "Fulfilling America’s Pledge: by the America’s Pledge initiative" — led by California Gov. Jerry Brown and former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg — found current commitments and market forces will cut emissions by 17% below 2005 levels by 2025, around two-thirds of the way to the pledge of 26-28%. The report said city and state governments deserve credit as well as businesses, having argued earlier this year for a "bottom-up strategy" to fight climate change.
- "While headlines focus on the political fights in Washington, the real action on climate change is happening in cities, states and the private sector," Bloomberg said in a statement. "Those groups are positioning the U.S. to uphold our end of the Paris Agreement, no matter what happens in Washington."
Since President Donald Trump withdrew the United States from the Paris climate accord last year, Bloomberg has been forthright in his efforts to fight climate change and ensure that the country will not fall behind. This year, he donated $4.5 million to the UN Climate Change Secretariat to cover a portion of the funding gap created by U.S. withdrawal, and also created the We Are Still In coalition with its "We Are Taking Action" campaign to encourage local, state and private sector leaders to take action to address climate change. Bloomberg Philanthropies also launched the American Cities Climate Challenge to encourage leaders to fight climate change.
But while the report’s findings will likely be well-received, the initiative’s leaders acknowledge there is plenty still to do. They suggest implementing 10 strategies over the next three years to continue to bring down carbon emissions, including doubling down on renewable energy targets, using more electric vehicles (EVs), reducing methane leaks and accelerating the retirement of coal power, something the Trump administration has tried to slow. “We’re getting it done, but there’s still a mountain to climb,” Brown said in a statement.
City leaders are concerned about the effects of climate change, and have been determined to lead in the absence of what they feel should be stronger leadership from the federal government in many policy areas, including on the environment. This report, coming during the Global Climate Action Summit, should serve as a further call-to-arms for cities to maintain and ramp up that leadership.