BY BROOKLYN PINHEIRO
With much backlash, Trump announced that the US would be leaving the Paris Climate Agreement in June. But those in positions of power who disagreed with him didn’t let that stop them from being committed to their environmental causes. Many states, cities, and businesses have been cutting their greenhouse gases for a slew of reasons and because of them the United States is not beyond hope and is set to meet about half of the 2025 Paris Climate Agreement goals.
When the Paris Climate Agreement started in 2015 it was designed to bring nations together to combat climate change, each at their own rate. Goals set by one country were different than another, according to their abilities. As of September 2017 the only two countries not a part of the agreement are Syria and the United States. When Trump decided to leave the agreement it was part of his ‘America first’ ideals as he felt the agreement put strain on the American people while benefiting other nations. Leaders worldwide were quick to condemn his choice with the same sentiment shared by many at home.
According to a report by The Climate group and the NewClimate Institute, through the committed efforts of states, cities and businesses, carbon emissions in America are decreasing despite a federal government that doesn’t acknowledge climate change. The report entitled, “States, cities, and businesses leading the way: a first look at decentralized climate commitments in the US” analyzes the current and proposed work being done and how it holds up to the the country’s nationally determined contribution for 2025.
While states are doing two thirds of the work at their large scale, individual cities and businesses are more ambitious in their goals with a proposed 22 per cent and 25 per cent reduction in emissions. This report also acknowledges that throughout the time of its publications more and more initiatives were coming to light, meaning that there is likely to be more proactive practices happening across the country.
At the opening ceremony for Climate Week NYC, chief executive climate officer for Climate Group, Helen Clarkson, wanted to highlight the impact of individual groups. “This new report clearly highlights their unwavering commitment to climate leadership,” said Clarkson. “Importantly, it shows us that climate action is not solely dependent on the actions of national government. US states, cities and businesses have the power to mitigate the consequences of a full Paris pull out.”
While nationally regulated climate change action would perhaps make it easier to meet the 2025 Paris Climate Agreement, Americans are proving that a non-supportive government isn’t a factor in what they can achieve.