CEOs join governors, mayors in c - Smart Energy Decisions

Commercial, Energy Efficiency, GHG Emissions, Regulation, Commercial, Industrial, Sourcing Renewables  -  June 2, 2017

CEOs join governors, mayors to meet Paris targets

Without the backing of the federal government, a powerhouse coalition of U.S. governors, mayors, university presidents and more than 100 businesses have begun work on a plan to meet the country's greenhouse gas reduction commitment under the Paris climate agreement. 

Within hours of President Donald Trump's announcement that he would pull the U.S. out of accord, The New York Times reported June 1 that the unnamed group being organized by former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg will negotiate with the United Nations to have its efforts accepted alongside other nations' contributions to the Paris climate deal. The group, which so far includes at least 30 mayors, three governors, more than 80 university presidents and more than 100 businesses, the newspaper reported. 

"We're going to do everything America would have done if it had stayed committed," Bloomberg told the Times. 

The NYT added:

It was unclear how, exactly, that submission to the United Nations would take place. Christiana Figueres, a former top United Nations climate official, said there was currently no formal mechanism for entities that were not countries to be full parties to the Paris accord.

The response was swift, to be sure, but pulled on the work already underway across the country to accelerate a transition to a low-carbon world. The number of Fortune 500 that are making public goals around reducing greenhouse gas emissions, using renewable energy and curbing their energy usual overall through energy efficiency continues to accelerate, according to recent from investor and environmental groups including Ceres and the World Wildlife Fund. Going even further are a growing group of companies that have adopted science-based greenhouse gas emissions reduction targets. As of the end of March, 10 of the Fortune 500 have had their target verified by the Science Based Targets initiative, and 12 more have committed to doing so within the next two years. 

On top of that, more than 25 U.S. cities have committed to transition to 100% renewable energy — with Pittsburg joining June 2 — according to The Sierra Club. 

Separately, the governors of New York, California and Washington joined together on June 1 to announce the formation of a group called The United States Climate Alliance that aims to convene U.S. states committed to upholding the Paris agreement. 

"The White House's reckless decision to withdraw from the Paris Climate Agreement has devastating repercussions not only for the United States, but for our planet. This administration is abdicating its leadership and taking a backseat to other countries in the global fight against climate change," New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said in a news release announcing the coalition. "New York State is committed to meeting the standards set forth in the Paris Accord regardless of Washington's irresponsible actions. We will not ignore the science and reality of climate change which is why I am also signing an Executive Order confirming New York's leadership role in protecting our citizens, our environment, and our planet."

Former President Barack Obama also weighed in on the news in a statement on Trump's decision that spoke to the work of businesses, states and cities. 

"Simply put, the private sector already chose a low-carbon future," Obama said. "[E]ven in the absence of American leadership; even as this Administration joins a small handful of nations that reject the future; I'm confident that our states, cities, and businesses will step up and do even more to lead the way, and help protect for future generations the one planet we've got."

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