Withdrawal and Response

U.S. cities form alliance against climate change

In an immediate and swift response to the White House’s most controversial decision (of last week, at least), a widespread contingent of governors, mayors, and other supporters from various U.S. cities formed an alliance pledging to continue a fight against climate change last Thursday night. The group has continued to swell in size since that time.

Beginning almost immediately following the 3:00 PM announcement by the president that the U.S. would withdraw from the Paris Agreementthe alliance started with three state governors and steadily added names by the hour. Washington (state) governor Jay Inslee, New York’s Andrew Cuomo, and California’s Jerry Brown spearheaded the alliance; which is not a legally binding treaty but a group of state governments with mutual policies regarding climate change. Certain polls had reported that up to 70% of Americans supported the country’s participation in the agreement.

A press statement released by Inslee stated initially that “New York, California and Washington, representing over one-fifth of U.S. Gross Domestic Product, are 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.”

By nightfall on Thursday, seven other governors pledged their support for the Paris Agreement.  The following day saw six more join the fold, including the first Republican governors—Charlie Baker of Massachusetts and Phil Scott of Vermont. Monday, June 5 brought the inclusion of Virginia Democratic Governor Terry McAuliffe, Governor Mark Dayton of Minnesota, Governor John C. Carney Jr. of Delaware, and Governor Ricky Rosselló of Puerto Rico.

Hundreds of mayors of U.S. cities have also indicated support for the objectives of the alliance.[32] Among these cities are the capital, Washington, D.C., and the 10 most populous cities in the nation: New York City, Los Angeles, Chicago, Houston, Phoenix, Philadelphia, San Antonio, San Diego, Dallas and San Jose. More than 200 of these cities are members of the Mayors National Climate Action Agenda, an organization of U.S. mayors committed to upholding the Paris Agreement. Non-member cities such as Baltimore, Charlotte, Indianapolis and Memphis have independently pledged to honor the Paris Agreement.

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