Brown, Cuomo and Inslee Will Serve as Co-Chairs, Urge Other States to Join Alliance
SACRAMENTO – In response to President Donald Trump’s decision to withdraw from the Paris Climate Agreement, California Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr., New York Governor Andrew Cuomo and Washington State Governor Jay Inslee today announced the formation of the United States Climate Alliance, a coalition that will convene U.S. states committed to upholding the Paris Climate Agreement and taking aggressive action on climate change.
“The President has already said climate change is a hoax, which is the exact opposite of virtually all scientific and worldwide opinion,” said Governor Brown. “I don’t believe fighting reality is a good strategy – not for America, not for anybody. If the President is going to be AWOL in this profoundly important human endeavor, then California and other states will step up.”
California, New York 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.
“The White House’s reckless decision to withdraw from the Paris Climate Agreement has devastating repercussions not only for the United States, but for our planet. This administration is abdicating its leadership and taking a backseat to other countries in the global fight against climate change,” said Governor Cuomo. “New York State is committed to meeting the standards set forth in the Paris Accord regardless of Washington’s irresponsible actions. We will not ignore the science and reality of climate change which is why I am also signing an Executive Order confirming New York’s leadership role in protecting our citizens, our environment, and our planet.”
“I am proud to stand with other governors as we make sure that the inaction in D.C. is met by an equal force of action from the states,” said Governor Inslee. “Today’s announcement by the president leaves the full responsibility of climate action on states and cities throughout our nation. While the president’s actions are a shameful rebuke to the work needed to protect our planet for our children and grandchildren, states have been and will continue to step up.”
Together, California, New York and Washington represent approximately 68 million people – nearly one-in-five Americans – and the states account for at least 10 percent of greenhouse gas emissions in the United States. California will continue to work closely together with other states to help fill the void left by the federal government.
With input from all participants, the U.S. Climate Alliance will also act as a forum to sustain and strengthen existing climate programs, promote the sharing of information and best practices, and implement new programs to reduce carbon emissions from all sectors of the economy.
California’s Leadership on Climate Change
Today’s announcement complements the Under2 Coalition – an international pact among cities, states and countries to limit the increase in global average temperature to below 2 degrees Celsius, the level of potentially catastrophic consequences – formed in 2015 by California and Baden-Württemberg, Germany in the lead up to COP21. The growing coalition now includes 170 jurisdictions on six continents that collectively represent more than 1.18 billion people and $27.5 trillion GDP – equivalent to 16 percent of the global population and 37 percent of the global economy.
Eighteen U.S. jurisdictions, including climate alliance co-chairs New York and Washington State, have joined the Under2 Coalition, representing 89 million people and 28 percent of the U.S. population. The Governor’s upcoming trip to China includes meetings in Sichuan and Jiangsu, the first Chinese provinces to join the Under2 Coalition.
Building on the global momentum to combat climate change and continuing California’s leading role in broadening collaboration amongst subnational leaders, Governor Brown will travel to China tomorrow to strengthen California’s long-standing climate, clean energy and economic ties with the nation. The Governor will also attend the 2017 United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP23) in Bonn, Germany to represent subnational jurisdictions that remain committed to climate action.
Earlier today, Governor Brown issued a statement reaffirming California’s ongoing commitment to aggressive action on climate change and last month called on the administration to keep the United States in the Paris Climate Agreement.
California, the sixth-largest economy in the world, has advanced its nation-leading climate goals while also growing the economy. In the last seven years, California has created 2.3 million new jobs – outpacing most of the United States – cut its unemployment rate in half, eliminated a $27 billion budget deficit and has seen its credit rating rise to the highest level in more than a decade.
In March, Governor Brown reaffirmed California’s commitment to exceed the targets of the Clean Power Plan and the state’s efforts to curb carbon pollution, which include establishing the most ambitious greenhouse gas emission reduction targets in North America and the nation’s toughest restrictions on destructive super pollutants. The Governor has also signed legislation that directs cap-and-trade funds to greenhouse gas reducing programs which benefit disadvantaged communities, support clean transportation and protect natural ecosystems.
This action builds on landmark legislation the Governor signed in October 2015 to generate half of the state’s electricity from renewable sources by 2030 and double the rate of energy efficiency savings in California buildings. Governor Brown has also committed to reducing today’s petroleum use in cars and trucks by up to 50 percent within the next 15 years; make heating fuels cleaner; and manage farm and rangelands, forests and wetlands so they can store carbon.
The Governor has traveled to the United Nations headquarters in New York, the Vatican in Italy and the Climate Summit of the Americas in Toronto, Canada to call on other leaders to join California in the fight against climate change. These efforts build on a number of other international climate change agreements with leaders from the Czech Republic, the Netherlands, Mexico, China, North America, Japan, Israel, Peru, Chile, Australia ,Scotland and Sweden and Governor Brown’s efforts to gather hundreds of world-renowned researchers and scientists around a groundbreaking call to action – called the consensus statement – which translates key scientific climate findings from disparate fields into one unified document.
The impacts of climate change are already being felt in California and will disproportionately impact the state’s most vulnerable populations.