Energy Efficiency

U.S. Cities & States Work to Defeat Climate Change

U.S. Cities, Germany Vow To Move Forward On Paris Accords

President Donald Trump’s decision last month to pull the United States out of the Paris Accords on climate change has had unexpected effects around the globe.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel said in late June that the G20 economic meeting, to be held in Hamburg in July, will focus on climate change. Most see that as a direct challenge to Trump. Merkel told members of the German government that European leaders are prepared to stand united against Trump.

“Since the U.S. decision to leave the Paris climate agreement, we are more determined than ever to make it a success,” Merkel told members of the German Parliament.

That’s good news for environmentalists around the world and in the United States, but it’s also in complete opposition to the stance taken by Trump. However, those who want something done about climate change also have found allies at the local level in the U.S.

Climate Mayors Movement

At the U.S. Mayors Conference held in late June in Miami Beach, Florida, mayors from cities around the country voiced their continued support for addressing climate change despite Trump’s opposition to the Paris agreement.

Paris Accords US CitiiesAbout 250 mayors signed a pledge to reduce emissions in their cities and target using 100 percent renewal energy by 2035. Although no specific milestone targets were set, the pledge was a direct contradiction to the position taken by the Trump Administration.

Another 330 mayors signed a pledge to stick by the provisions of the Paris Accords.

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, a leader in the “climate mayors” movement, said the mayors are getting support from large and small cities – in both blue and red states – because those who govern at the local level see “the effects of climate change every single day.”

New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg committed $200 million to help cities fund projects dealing with climate change. He said the fund is needed because Washington “is AWOL” on climate issues.

The Paris Accords

With Trump traveling to Hamburg for the G20 meeting and Merkel making her position clear, the impact of the Paris Accords remains unclear. However, Britain also stands by the agreement, as do India and China.

Trump’s decision seems even more unusual given the fact the accord allowed each country to develop its own plan for reducing carbon emissions. There is no hard and fast rule on the exact amount of change a country had to make, but each was left to determine what it could do given its resources.

For his part, former President Barack Obama had vowed to cut greenhouse gas emissions in the U.S. by at least 26 percent below 2005 levels by 2025.

Trump has mentioned negotiating a better deal. However, for those interested in climate change politics, the G20 meeting is likely to produce some interesting moments.

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