States, cities and companies are joining alliances and coalitions to try to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in line with the Paris Agreement
The day after the Trump administration officially announced the US withdrawal from the Paris Climate Agreement, over 11,000 scientists declared a climate emergency..
On Tuesday, the scientific journal BioScience published an article by representatives of the Alliance of World Scientists, the authors of which accused world governments of inaction on climate change..
“Despite 40 years of negotiations on the global climate, with a few exceptions, we have generally not changed anything and for the most part have not been able to cope with this problem. The climate crisis has arrived, and it is accelerating faster than most scientists expected, ”the report says..
Wildfires engulfed northern and southern California
The report provides information on rising temperatures and sea levels, a spike in wildfires and increasingly extreme weather – “more extreme than expected and threatening natural ecosystems and the fate of all humanity.”.
According to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, the United States suffers from an “unfair economic burden” that was placed on the country in 2015 when it signed a global agreement aimed at preventing catastrophic climate change..
“The United States has cut all types of emissions while we are developing our economy and guaranteeing our citizens access to cheap energy,” Pompeo said in a statement Monday following his withdrawal from the Paris Agreement..
While federal authorities are reluctant to be involved in solving the global climate crisis, many states have decided to take the lead..
Governors of 24 states and the island territory of Puerto Rico are committed to reducing greenhouse gas emissions in accordance with the Paris Agreement signed by former President Barack Obama in 2015. More than half of the country’s population lives in the states that are part of the United States Climate Alliance. If they were a separate country, then it would be the third largest economy in the world..
Alliance members say they can work together to reduce greenhouse gas emissions under the Paris Agreement. The states intend to achieve 18-25% reduction in emissions from 2005 levels by 2025. The United States, upon signing the agreement, pledged to reduce emissions by 26-28%.
Dave Johnson Coal Power Plant in Glenrock, Wyoming
Five states passed laws last year requiring power plants to completely cut carbon emissions by the middle of this century. Several more states have increased their commitments in this area..
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The state of New Jersey has joined a block of nine states that require energy companies to financially compensate for air pollution with carbon dioxide. This policy is endorsed by many economists. Pennsylvania, the largest producer of fossil fuels, has also taken some action. Virginia was about to join the bloc last year, but the attempt was blocked by Republicans who headed both houses of the state legislature. Democrats win elections this week for both houses of the Virginia Legislature.
The Trump administration’s initiative to withdraw from the Paris Agreement also fostered a coalition of states, cities and companies called We Are Still In, which aims to deliver on commitments under the agreement despite opposition from the federal government. Now more than 3,800 signatures have been put under the agreement, including the heads of ten states, 287 cities and districts and more than 2,200 companies and investors..
Nearly 300 companies have set a goal to reduce emissions in line with the Paris Agreement, and another 400 have pledged to do so in the near future..
However, the ultimate goal will not be easy to achieve without federal assistance, experts warn. According to a recent report published by the Rhodium Group, greenhouse gas emissions will decline by only 12-19% between 2005 and 2025 – “which is no match for the obligations of the Paris Agreement.”.