'We Are Still In': U.S. Leaders Reaffirm Commitment to Paris Agreement
More than 1,000 U.S. governors, mayors, businesses, investors, and colleges and universities assembled Monday to reaffirm their commitment to climate action and declare they will continue to pursue ambitious emissions reductions despite the Trump administration's decision to pull out of an unprecedented and essential international agreement to curb climate change. This is broadest cross section of the American economy yet assembled in pursuit of climate action.
Together, these leaders are sending a strong signal to the international community and the 194 other parties to the Paris agreement that we will work together to ensure the U.S. remains a global leader in the fight against climate change. In the aggregate, the signatories are delivering concrete emissions reductions that will help meet America's emissions pledge under the Paris agreement.
"It is imperative that the world know that the US, the actors that will provide the leadership necessary to meet our Paris commitment are found in city halls, state capitals, colleges and universities, investors and businesses," the leaders said in an open letter.
"Together, we will remain actively engaged with the international community as part of the global effort to hold warming well below 2° and to accelerate the transition to a clean energy economy that will benefit our security, prosperity and health."
The Trump administration's announcement undermines a key pillar in the fight against climate change and damages the world's ability to avoid the most dangerous and costly effects of climate change and is out of step with what is happening in the U.S. The signatories all understand that the Paris agreement is a blueprint for job creation, stability and global prosperity, and that accelerating the nation's clean energy transition is an opportunity for—not a liability to—job creation, spurring innovation, promoting trade and ensuring American competitiveness. By declaring that "we are still in," the signatories are putting the best interests of their constituents, customers, students and communities first while assuring the rest of the world that American leadership on climate change extends well beyond the federal government.
Signatories include some of the most populous states and cities in the U.S., including California, New York City, Los Angeles and Houston, as well as several smaller cities such as Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and Dubuque, Iowa. A mixture of private universities, state schools and community colleges, both small and large, have added their institutions to the statement. And Fortune 500 companies sign their names alongside hundreds of small businesses.
There are multiple organizations and individuals participating in this movement and World Wildlife Fund has played a convening role in the process, building on our longstanding work with cities and businesses.
Today's announcement embraces this rapidly growing movement of subnational and civil society leaders by announcing that not only are these leaders stepping forward, they are stepping forward together.
"US leadership on climate change doesn't begin or end in Washington," said World Wildlife Fund's Lou Leonard, senior vice president, climate change and energy. "Focusing on last week's disappointing decision by President Trump misses the bigger story: America is still in this fight."