12 governors tell Trump they can meet carbon goals

Source: Hannah Hess, E&E News reporter • Posted: Thursday, May 4, 2017

Twelve Democratic governors today urged President Trump to continue U.S. involvement in the Paris Agreement, telling him their states are proof that cutting carbon does not mean sacrificing jobs or the economy.

The governors of California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Minnesota, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Virginia and Washington wrote to Trump, pointing out they are already seeing the impacts of climate change through rising sea levels, increased flooding, drought and extreme weather.

The 12 states are “home to 107 million Americans and comprise approximately 38 percent of the nation’s GDP,” they note. Ceding global leadership on clean energy would be a “huge lost opportunity, putting us at a competitive disadvantage and potentially locking us into technologies and economic pathways that are increasingly obsolete while China and India reap the benefits of low-carbon leadership.”

The letter, organized by the Georgetown Climate Center, was sent amid growing uncertainty among climate advocates that Trump will stay in the accord (Climatewire, May 3).

“Given the progress our states have made in reducing greenhouse gas emissions, we are convinced that the United States’ goal of 26-28 percent below 2005 levels is readily achievable,” they stated. “Maintaining the U.S. commitment is essential to protect our residents, and indeed, all Americans from the potentially catastrophic impacts of a changing climate.”

The leaders say citizens have demanded clean energy. They are well on the way to meeting the targets set by the Obama administration.

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee (D) has proposed a revenue-neutral carbon tax. “We are pleased to partner with other states who are also working to reduce carbon pollution. But we need a partner in the federal government,” Inslee said today in a statement.

California has its own cap-and-trade system and is aiming for ambitious renewable energy targets. Gov. Jerry Brown (D) proclaimed in the wake of Trump’s election that he would launch satellites to collect climate data if the administration reversed course (Climatewire, Dec. 15, 2016).

In New York, Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) has pledged additional funding for renewable energy. “New York’s aggressive efforts to combat climate change are essential to protecting and preserving our state and nation’s precious natural resources for future generations,” Cuomo said today, adding his state can’t go it “alone.”