While President Trump has announced the U.S. will pull out of the Paris Climate Accord, the United States cannot formally exit the agreement until November 5, 2020.
Despite the administration’s stance and its many efforts to end U.S. action to reduce carbon emissions, numerous U.S. governors arrived at the Global Climate Change Summit in Bonn, Germany, to lay out new actions to be taken by their individual states.
On Monday, several Northeast and Mid-Atlantic governors announced plans to voluntarily reduce carbon output in transportation, in accordance with the goals of the Paris agreement.
So far, Connecticut, Delaware, the District of Columbia, Maryland, Massachusetts, New York, Rhode Island, and Vermont are the eight states and one district that announced their own actions.
Each specified clear plans to combat carbon dioxide output, specifically in the transportation sector.
While the American delegation present in Bonn kept a low profile, a large and well-promoted 27,000-square-foot inflatable tent housed enthusiastic governors and other American officials as a direct rebuke to President Trump’s actions.
Officials include former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, current California Governor Jerry Brown, and a handful of Democratic U.S. senators, The New York Times reported on Saturday.
The governors’ plans could include a similar approach taken with power plant emissions, since each state already has experience with the “cap-and-invest” model through the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI).
The states might apply the RGGI model to cleaner transportation, the Sierra Club proposed, which could provide funding for speedier electric-car adoption, greener public transportation, and investments in bikable and walkable pathways to reduce the number of vehicles on the road altogether.
Similarly, Environment America applauded the move by governors, who will collectively work out plans next year to cut vehicle pollution levels.
Global carbon dioxide emissions, 1850-2030 [CO2 Information Analysis Center, World Energy Outlook]
At the conference, Governor Brown said the states, cities, and business committed to the Paris agreement are on track to reduce emission levels by at least 26 percent below 2005 levels by 2025.
That number is identical to the Obama administration’s pledge for reductions when the U.S. first committed to the climate accord in late 2016.
On Monday, offering a counterpoint to the states’ actions to reduce carbon emissions, the actual American delegation spoke at a forum to promote use of fossil fuels and nuclear energy. The nation’s delegation included executives from the coal, liquified natural gas, and nuclear energy sectors.
According to The Times, diplomats from various countries were pleased to see the American “shadow” delegation promote the global cause, but remained unsure of which American voice rang the clearest.
In the U.S., EPA head Scott Pruitt, a climate-science denier, is continuing efforts to abolish the Clean Power Act, despite the government’s own fourth National Climate Assessment clearly affirming that human activity has caused climate change, and continues to produce global warming.
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