On November 4, 2019, President Donald Trump officially began the formal process to withdraw the U.S. from the Paris Agreement. Although the President had announced his intent in June of 2017, he was unable to formally submit the intent to withdraw until three years after the agreement had entered into force. Climate activists and opponents of the President’s anti-environmental agenda had expected the announcement, but still fought to prevent it and encourage the U.S. to remain in the agreement.
In response to the President’s 2017 announcement, a diverse coalition of 3,500 state, municipal, business, and nonprofit leaders formed the We Are Still In coalition and created America’s Pledge, a commitment to uphold the emissions reduction targets set forth in the U.S.’ Nationally Determined Contributions under the Paris Agreement. The President’s most recent announcement galvanized this group to renew its commitments and encourage new members to sign on. At the 25th Conference of Parties (COP 25) in Madrid in December 2019, this coalition sent a delegation representing U.S. interests tangentially to the U.S.’ official negotiation presence, and hosted a series of side events with speakers including mayors, governors, and members of Congress. These representatives spoke to the need for global cooperation and the U.S.’ commitment to reduce emissions at the sub-national level, despite inaction on the part of the federal government.
The disconnect between the federal government’s apathy – or even outright hostility – toward action on climate and the excitement of state- and municipal-level leaders only emphasizes the rift in the American climate realm and highlights the stagnation of American climate policy as a whole.
Activity Rating: ** Standing Still
Although the federal government remains openly hostile to international climate cooperation, the show of force by sub-national leaders committed to climate action at international climate talks is working to counter the President’s attempts to prop up the fossil fuel industry. However, recent reports show U.S. emissions have increased since President Trump took office, demonstrating that the Administration’s stonewalling of emissions reductions policies is winning out against action by sub-national leaders.
Dear President Trump,
International cooperation to fight climate change is vital to both our security and legitimacy on the world stage. Even if your administration does not believe we need federal policies to fight climate change, it is still critically important that we retain a seat at the table, and engage with our fellow countries in the United Nations on matters of global importance. Please immediately rescind your intent to withdraw from the Paris Agreement.
Americans can fill out a contact form on the White House website: https://www.whitehouse.gov/contact/
This Post was submitted by Climate Scorecard US Country Manager Stephanie Gagnon