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Friday, 16 June 2017 06:25

US Cities and States Line Up to Pledge Compliance With Paris Accords

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MARK KARLIN, EDITOR OF BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT

parisaccord34Many US cities and states will abide by the Paris accord goals. (Photo: Klovovi)

The United States Conference of Mayors (USCM) resoundingly rejected President Trump's withdrawal from the Paris accord, according to a statement on its website:

The United States Conference of Mayors strongly opposes President Trump’s withdrawal from the Paris Climate Accord and has vowed that the nation’s mayors will continue their commitment to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to alleviate the impacts of global warming.

“The U.S. Conference of Mayors is a strong proponent of the need to address climate change and we support the Paris agreement, which positions the world’s nations, including the United States, to be energy independent, self-reliant, and resilient,” said Phoenix (AZ) Mayor Greg Stanton, Chair of USCM’s Environment Committee. “A thriving economy and reducing greenhouse gas emissions are compatible by focusing on new technology, investing in renewable fuel sources, and increasing our energy efficiency....”

“Dozens of our country’s cities have already united to implement measures that combat climate change, so the President’s decision to withdraw from the Paris agreement is not representative of our nation’s leaders and their communities,” said Columbia (SC) Mayor Steve Benjamin, USCM Second Vice President. “As Mayors, we commit to protecting the planet that we will leave to the next generations, finding innovative solutions for renewable energy and working so that our communities are kept free of hazardous emissions.”

The USCM represents 1,408 cities with populations of 30,000 residents or more.

The USCM commitment to circumvent Trump is representative of an active movement of cities and states that includes a variety of organizations representing them. They include the Climate Mayors (a. k. a. Mayors National Climate Agenda), which declared in a June 1 statement [email protected][email protected]reement-goals-ba566e260097" target="_blank">on Medium:

The President’s denial of global warming is getting a cold reception from America’s cities.

As 305 US Mayors representing 61 million Americans, we will adopt, honor, and uphold the commitments to the goals enshrined in the Paris Agreement. We will intensify efforts to meet each of our cities’ current climate goals, push for new action to meet the 1.5 degrees Celsius target, and work together to create a 21st century clean energy economy....

The world cannot wait  --  and neither will we.

The Sierra Club has formed Mayors For 100% Clean Energy, which includes 98 mayors who "have pledged their support for a community-wide transition to 100% renewable energy." The mayors have signed onto a results-oriented commitment:

I believe that a transition to 100 percent clean energy is good for my community: It will make us stronger, healthier, and more resilient; it will create jobs and new business opportunities; and it will allow us to become a more equitable society where everyone has opportunity in a thriving local economy.

Nearly 200 nations have agreed, for the first time in history, that the world must achieve 100 percent renewable energy by the end of this century. In the United States, action by local government is already a significant driver of renewable energy growth because cities know firsthand that steps to reduce carbon emissions [will] clean the air, strengthen the economy, and improve lives.

Interestingly enough, the mayor of Pittsburgh is in the Sierra Club group and had this to say on Twitter in response to Trump singling out Pittsburgh residents as "his" voters and suggesting that they were one of the reasons that Trump was pulling out of the accord: "As the Mayor of Pittsburgh, I can assure you that we will follow the guidelines of the Paris Agreement for our people, our economy & future." In reality, Hillary Clinton carried the city with 80 percent of the vote.

In a speech following Trump's announcement, Peduto said that in Trump's speechwriter’s mind, "Pittsburgh is this dirty old town that relies upon big coal and big steel to survive." This conception "completely ignores the sacrifices that we made over 30 years in order to get back up on our feet, in order to be creating a new economy, in order to make the sacrifices to clean our air and clean our water," he added.

It's not just the cities that are rebuking Trump and joining together against global warming. On June 1, I wrote about the states of California, New York and Washington pledging to abide by the goals of the Paris accord. They announced the formation of the United States Climate Alliance. Meanwhile, Hawaii became the first US state to pass legislation to comply with the Paris agreement.

In addition, former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg is convening an organization to hopefully work directly with the offices of the Paris accord enforcement, bypassing Trump. As The New York Times described his effort,

Representatives of American cities, states and companies are preparing to submit a plan to the United Nations pledging to meet the United States’ greenhouse gas emissions targets under the Paris climate accord, despite President Trump’s decision to withdraw from the agreement.

The unnamed group -- which, so far, includes 30 mayors, three governors, more than 80 university presidents and more than 100 businesses -- is negotiating with the United Nations to have its submission accepted alongside contributions to the Paris climate deal by other nations.

“We’re going to do everything America would have done if it had stayed committed,” Michael Bloomberg, the former New York City mayor who is coordinating the effort, said in an interview....

Mayors of cities including Los Angeles, Atlanta and Salt Lake City have signed on -- along with Pittsburgh, which Mr. Trump mentioned in his speech announcing the withdrawal -- as have Hewlett-Packard, Mars and dozens of other companies.

Clearly, there is robust and resolute activity to ignore Trump's perilous rejection of the need to curb global warming, including some large corporations. This is another example of resistance leading to transformation by ignoring Trump and moving on with positive actions that are vital to our future and the well-being of the planet.