U.S. Cities, States and Business Tackle Climate Change Despite Trump Inaction
President Trump has only been in office for less than two years, but his track record on environmental issues, including climate change, is dismal. While the Trump administration refuses to deal with climate change, cities, states, and businesses are taking action.
Although Trump pulled out of the Paris Agreement last year, the U.S. is nearly halfway to the original U.S. target under the Paris Agreement of 26 to 28 percent below 2005 levels by 2025, a recent report by Bloomberg Philanthropies finds. Current real economy and federal commitments plus market forces will cause U.S. emissions to drop 17 percent below 2005 levels by 2025, which will be about two-thirds of the way to the original U.S. target. Fully implementing the 10 recommended climate action strategies could cause emissions to drop 21 percent below 2005 levels by 2025.
Since the Trump administration announced it would withdraw from the Paris Agreement last year, over 3,000 real economy players have pledged support for the Paris Agreement and committed to taking action on climate change by participating in networks. The economic activity of this coalition equals that of the third largest country in the world. The U.S. states, cities, businesses and other leaders that are committed to the Paris Agreement represent over half of the U.S. population, over half of the American economy, and over 35 percent of nationwide greenhouse gas emissions.
How business is tackling climate change
The recently launched Investor Agenda encourages investors to take action to tackle climate change and achieve Paris Agreement goals. Nearly 400 investors with $32 trillion in assets collectively under management use the Investor Agenda. There are four focus areas of the Investor Agenda: investment, corporate engagement, investor disclosure, and policy advocacy.
“Investors are showing great leadership to promote climate action in multiple fronts,” said Patricia Espinosa, Executive Secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), in a statement.
“Their efforts to meet the shortfall in the financial resources required to deliver the Paris Agreement goals and further building on engagement with high-emitting sectors are a valuable contribution.”
Cities and states are taking action
There is a political saying that as California goes, so goes the nation. If that is true then the U.S. will one day set a goal to be a clean energy economy. California Governor Jerry Brown recently signed a bill into law that sets a goal for the golden state to use 100 percent renewable energy by 2045. California is the world’s fifth largest economy.
The Bloomberg American Cities Climate Challenge recently named Atlanta and Seattle as its winning cities. A $70 million program that accelerates the efforts of 20 cities to tackle climate change, the Climate Challenge accepted the two cities into a two-year acceleration program. During the two-year period, Atlanta and Seattle will be provided resources and support to meet or exceed their carbon reduction goals.
Seattle plans to use the support to improve the energy efficiency of its buildings and reduce emissions from its transit sector. Atlanta is the first city in the Southeast to pass a building energy benchmarking and transparency ordinance. As a Climate Challenge winner, the Georgia city plans to expand its charging infrastructure for electric vehicles and upgrade its clean energy.