As we discussed in a recent blog post, the actions taken by corporations and local governments will mitigate the impacts of the Trump Administration’s decision to withdraw the United States from the Paris Climate Accord.
Immediately following President Trump’s Rose Garden speech, cities, states, and organizations, led by the Bloomberg Foundation, stepped up to pledge their commitment to the Paris Climate Accord. Along with “We Are Still In”, more than 100 companies, 200 cities, and 13 states agreed to fulfill the United States’ pledge in to cap global warming at 1.5 degrees.
We are inspired by these bold commitments, and want to share some of the highlights that will have significant impact on the 1.5 degree target.
California, New York, and Washington were three states to quickly pledge their commitment to the Paris Accord. On June 1, 2017, they created the United States Climate Alliance, which is a coalition of states that has committed to upholding the United States’ commitment to the Paris Climate Accord. By June 5th, 10 more states had signed on to bring the total to 13 states. Several other states have not officially joined the US Climate Alliance, but have pledged their support.
The states that are members of the US Climate Alliance make up 36.3% of the United States’ Gross Domestic Product, 31.4% of the total population, and 18.22% of the total US emissions. These numbers don’t include states that have expressed support for the Paris deal but have not officially joined the US Climate Alliance.
The United States has always been a nation of state power, and states have an enormous amount of flexibility to set regulations and policies that encourage the transition to renewable energy. California is a great example; it has actively pushed renewable energy, and just last month hit a record by generating 67.2% of its energy from renewable sources. California also went so far as to sign an agreement directly with China on June 6th, 2017.
Joining the states in pledging their commitment to the Paris agreement, more than 200 U.S. cities quickly rose up following US withdrawal from the climate accord. The list of cities that have joined the pledge vary from some of the largest US cities, such as Los Angeles, New York, and Chicago, to smaller rural communities like Bloomington, IN; Bozeman, MT; and Ketchum, ID.
The wide disparity of cities that have come out in support of the Paris Climate Accord shows that this is a bipartisan issue. The list of participating cities includes Republican and Democratic mayors, blue-collar and white-collar citizens, and communities with different cultural backgrounds.
Many of the cities that have spoken out in support of the Paris Climate Accord have already set aggressive emissions targets. New York City has promised to cut emissions by 80% by the year 2050. San Francisco has pledged to power the city with 100% renewable energy by the year 2045. And, Houston been investing in renewable energy for years, and currently powers its city from 89% solar and wind energy sources.
More than 1400 businesses and investors have signed pledges that support the Paris Climate Accord and have promised to pursue ambitious climate goals. The comprehensive list includes some of America’s most powerful companies and organizations. The list includes sustainability and business leaders such as Virgin, USGBC, Inova, REI, JLL, Starbucks, Microsoft, Lululemon, Optoro, Amazon, IBM, Perkins+Will, Apple, Facebook, Amazon, Tesla, Estee Lauder, and Nike.
Many of these companies have a history of sustainable action and have witnessed firsthand the benefits of sustainable business practices. Google has been aggressively investing in renewable energy for years and is on track to power 100% of its business operations with renewable energy this year. Apple is following close on Google’s heels and currently powers its business with 93% renewable energy.
At a time when the federal investment in sustainability is unclear, it has been extremely uplifting to see governors, mayors, and business leaders step up to voice their support of the Paris Climate Accord and the fight against climate change.
America is a nation built on division of power, and even when the federal government took a strong stance to stop climate change, local governments and businesses were still needed to take aggressive action and stop the current pattern of greenhouse gas emissions.
So the efforts of individuals and businesses are needed more than ever—and Paladino is here to help! We have extensive experience with both private and public-sector clients and have worked with industry leaders, such as PNC, Verizon, and Hertz to reduce their companies’ GHG emissions through their real estate. Contact us for ideas and assistance on taking a stand and doing your part.