paris accord climate change

US states stick to goals of Paris Agreement in defiance of Donald Trump

US cities and states are to work with experts to measure their progress in meeting climate goals in accordance with the Paris Agreement despite President Donald Trump’s decision to pull the country out of the global pact.

The initiative by 227 cities and counties, nine states and more than 1,500 businesses, including Fortune 500 companies, was announced in a statement by California Governor Jerry Brown and Michael Bloomberg, a former New York mayor.

“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,” said Brown in a statement.

America’s Pledge, as the plan has been dubbed, comes a month after the White House announced it was leaving the 2015 Paris accord agreed by nearly 200 countries to curb climate-warming greenhouse gas emissions.

That decision was met with dismay across the world while prompting state governors and city mayors to say they would collectively show their country still remained committed to cutting emissions that scientists blame for global warming.

In a growing movement, cities, states and companies have since endorsed various statements promising to step up efforts to slow climate change.

“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,” said Bloomberg in a statement.

Outside experts with the World Resources Institute and the Rocky Mountain Institute, two US-based non-profits, have been retained to conduct the study on current and projected emissions of America’s Pledge affiliates.

The initiative hopes to present their findings to the United Nations at a climate meeting in Bonn, Germany, in November.

Under the Paris deal, former President Barack Obama’s administration had vowed to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 26-28 per cent below 2005 levels by 2025.

But in abandoning the accord, Trump said the federal government would not honour those pledges, which were non-binding.

Still, last month in an effort to fill a climate leadership void, Bloomberg, a UN envoy on cities and climate change, committed $200m to support city initiatives including projects to combat global warming through a grant programme called the American Cities Initiative.

Bloomberg Philanthropies has also committed to separately fund America’s Pledge, Antha Williams, a spokeswoman for the group told the Thomson Reuters Foundation in a phone interview.

The United Nations’ chief, António Guterres, said in a statement that he “welcomed” the plan to assess how US cities, states and others are contributing to slashing global greenhouse gas emissions.

“This is demonstrably not an issue that can be addressed by national governments alone,” he said.

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