U.S. Climate Alliance, co-chaired by Governors Brown, Cuomo and Inslee, Now Includes 13 Members
SACRAMENTO – The U.S. Climate Alliance announced that Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Oregon, Puerto Rico, Rhode Island, Vermont and Virginia have all joined the coalition, which is committed to upholding the Paris Accord and taking aggressive action on climate change.
In response to President Trump’s decision to withdraw from the Paris Accord, California Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr., New York Governor Andrew M. Cuomo and Washington State Governor Jay Inslee formed the Alliance to convene U.S. states committed to achieving the U.S. goal of reducing emissions 26-28 percent from 2005 levels and meeting or exceeding the targets of the federal Clean Power Plan.
With input from all participants, the U.S. Climate Alliance will also act as a forum to sustain and strengthen existing climate programs, promote the sharing of information and best practices and implement new programs to reduce carbon emissions from all sectors of the economy.
“The President has already said climate change is a hoax, which is the exact opposite of virtually all scientific and worldwide opinion,” said Governor Brown. “I don’t believe fighting reality is a good strategy – not for America, not for anybody. If the President is going to be AWOL in this profoundly important human endeavor, then California and other states will step up.”
“As the federal government turns its back on the environment, New York and states across the country are picking up the mantle of climate leadership and showing the world it’s possible to address climate change while also creating good-paying careers,” said Governor Cuomo. “The U.S. Climate Alliance is committed to meeting the standards set forth in the Paris Accord regardless of Washington’s irresponsible actions. We welcome these 10 new members and look forward to collaborating and maintaining the momentum in the global effort to protect our planet, while jumpstarting the clean energy economy.”
“Those of us who understand science and feel the urgency of protecting our children’s air and water are as united as ever in confronting one of the greatest challenges of our lifetime,” said Governor Inslee. “Our collective efforts to act on climate will ensure we maintain the U.S.’s commitment to curb carbon pollution while advancing a clean energy economy that will bring good-paying jobs to America’s workers.”
“Connecticut has been a national leader in combating climate change and we have no plans of slowing down our efforts,” said Connecticut Governor Dannel P. Malloy. “In the absence of leadership from the White House in addressing climate change, it is incumbent upon the states to take action in order to protect their residents. We remain committed to meeting the standards set forth in the Paris Climate Agreement because it is the right thing to do for not only the future of our state, but for the future of our planet. I am proud to stand with my fellow governors in support of efforts to reverse the harmful effects of global warming and to send a message to the rest of the world that we accept the science of climate change and we will not let the misguided beliefs of a few ruin our planet.”
“Delaware is the country’s lowest-lying state and with 381 miles of coastline, climate change is a very real threat to our future,” said Delaware Governor John Carney. “As sea levels rise, more than 17,000 Delaware homes, nearly 500 miles of roadway and thousands of acres of wildlife habitat including our critical wetlands are at risk of permanent inundation. Rising average temperatures and an increase in extreme weather events also pose health risks to Delawareans, and threaten our economy. The U.S. should lead in the global fight against climate change. Delaware is proud to join this coalition of states providing that necessary leadership.”
“As the Commonwealth reiterates its commitment to exceed the emission reduction targets of the Paris Climate Agreement, today we join the U.S. Climate Alliance to expand on our efforts while partnering with other states to combat climate change,” said Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker. “After speaking with Governors Cuomo and Scott, our administration looks forward to continued, bipartisan collaboration with other states to protect the environment, grow the economy and deliver a brighter future to the next generation.”
“I am very pleased to announce that Minnesota will join the U.S. Climate Alliance, to uphold the tenets of the Paris Climate Change Agreement in our state,” said Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton. “President Trump’s withdrawal will cause serious damage to our environment and our economy. Nevertheless, Minnesota and other states will show the world what we can achieve by working together to conserve energy, to use cleaner and renewable energy, and to leave a livable planet to our children and grandchildren.”
“The ‘America First’ doctrine should put our children first too,” said Oregon Governor Kate Brown. “Future generations deserve to inherit a world they can thrive in, not one that plays politics and ignores the fact our climate is changing. Despite the decision by the White House to retreat, it is our moral obligation to fulfill the goals of the Paris Agreement. Oregon will continue to make meaningful strides, with the rest of the world, to ensure our communities and economies adapt to meet the challenge of climate change.”
“Climate change is a real problem for all and requires immediate action to ensure future generations are left with a sustainable planet,” said Puerto Rico Governor Ricardo Rosselló. “Our administration is committed to protecting the environment. As a Governor, who is also a scientist, I value science and data as primary tools in the decision making process. As such, I strongly oppose the withdrawal from the Paris Agreement. Our administration understands that all policy decisions even those perceived to being small can have big, lasting effects on our planet. Puerto Rico, an Island that 3.4 million American Citizens call home, would suffer greatly from the devastating effects of rising sea levels. But we all stand to lose if we don’t take meaningful action right now. We call upon all public officials across our nation to continue to support rules and regulations that protect our environment. As most of the world move forwards, our nation cannot sit idle and lag behind.”
“President Trump’s decision to withdraw from the Paris Agreement was a tremendous mistake. Rhode Island may be a small state, but climate change can have a big impact on our communities,” said Rhode Island Governor Gina M. Raimondo. “We are determined to fight climate change from the front lines so that we can preserve our environment – including our Narragansett Bay – for future generations and create good-paying, future-proof jobs in the process. I’m proud to join Governors Cuomo, Brown and Inslee in this effort and hope other governors – from both parties – join as well.”
“Growing our economy and protecting our environment by supporting cleaner and more affordable energy and transportation choices can go together,” said Vermont Governor Phil Scott. “If our national government isn’t willing to lead in this area, the states are prepared to step up and lead. I look forward to supporting continued bipartisan cooperation on these matters and thank Governor Baker, Governor Inslee, Governor Cuomo and Governor Brown for working collaboratively on this important issue.”
“As the first state in the Trump era to take executive action to limit carbon emissions and create clean energy jobs, Virginia is proud to join the Climate Alliance,” said Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe. “President Trump’s announcement to withdraw the United States from the Paris Climate Agreement does not speak for the states and cities that are committed to fighting climate change and paving the way for a new energy economy. If the federal government insists on abdicating leadership on this issue, it will be up to the American people to step forward – and in Virginia we are doing just that.”
California’s Leadership on Climate Change
The U.S. Climate Alliance complements the Under2 Coalition – an international pact among cities, states and countries to limit the increase in global average temperature to below 2 degrees Celsius, the level of potentially catastrophic consequences – formed in 2015 by California and Baden-Württemberg, Germany in the lead up to COP21. The growing coalition now includes 170 jurisdictions on six continents that collectively represent more than 1.18 billion people and $27.5 trillion GDP – equivalent to 16 percent of the global population and 37 percent of the global economy. Eighteen U.S. jurisdictions, including climate alliance co-chairs New York and Washington State and six other members, have joined the Under2 Coalition, representing 89 million people and 28 percent of the U.S. population.
Building on the global momentum to combat climate change and continuing California’s leading role in broadening collaboration amongst subnational leaders, Governor Brown is in China this week to strengthen California’s long-standing climate and clean energy ties with the nation. The Governor’s trip to China includes agreements to expand cooperation on low-carbon technologies and clean energy development with Sichuan and Jiangsu, the first Chinese provinces to join the Under2 Coalition.
Last week, Governor Brown issued a statement reaffirming California’s ongoing commitment to aggressive action on climate change and last month called on the administration to keep the United States in the Paris Climate Agreement. The Governor will attend the 2017 United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP23) in Bonn, Germany to represent subnational jurisdictions that remain committed to climate action.
California, the sixth-largest economy in the world, has advanced its nation-leading climate goals while also growing the economy. In the last seven years, California has created 2.3 million new jobs – outpacing most of the United States – cut its unemployment rate in half, eliminated a $27 billion budget deficit and has seen its credit rating rise to the highest level in more than a decade.
In March, Governor Brown reaffirmed California’s commitment to exceed the targets of the Clean Power Plan and the state’s efforts to curb carbon pollution, which include establishing the most ambitious greenhouse gas emission reduction targets in North America and the nation’s toughest restrictions on destructive super pollutants. The Governor has also signed legislation that directs cap-and-trade funds to greenhouse gas reducing programs which benefit disadvantaged communities, support clean transportation and protect natural ecosystems.
This action builds on landmark legislation the Governor signed in October 2015 to generate half of the state’s electricity from renewable sources by 2030 and double the rate of energy efficiency savings in California buildings. Governor Brown has also committed to reducing today’s petroleum use in cars and trucks by up to 50 percent within the next 15 years; make heating fuels cleaner; and manage farm and rangelands, forests and wetlands so they can store carbon.
The Governor has traveled to the United Nations headquarters in New York, the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Paris, the Vatican in Italy and the Climate Summit of the Americas in Toronto, Canada to call on other leaders to join California in the fight against climate change. These efforts build on a number of other international climate change agreements with leaders from the Czech Republic, the Netherlands, Mexico, China, North America, Japan, Israel, Peru, Chile, Australia ,Scotland and Sweden and Governor Brown’s efforts to gather hundreds of world-renowned researchers and scientists around a groundbreaking call to action – called the consensus statement – which translates key scientific climate findings from disparate fields into one unified document.
The impacts of climate change are already being felt in California and will disproportionately impact the state’s most vulnerable populations.