U.S. Governors Head to Germany to Reassure Global Leaders of American Leadership on Climate Change

Source: By Ben Rubin, ClimateNexus • Posted: Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Governors from the bipartisan U.S. Climate Alliance are travelling to Bonn, Germany this week for a meeting of the United Nations’ Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), to discuss their states’ continued commitment to global climate action.

Alliance co-chairs California Gov. Jerry Brown and Washington Gov. Jay Inslee and members Oregon Gov. Kate Brown and Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe will convene a panel to discuss U.S. state-driven climate leadership, on Monday, November 13 at 10:45am local time, in the Cities & Regions Pavilion. This is the largest delegation of U.S. Governors ever to participate in an official UNFCCC Conference of the Parties (COP) meeting.

Governors formed the U.S. Climate Alliance in June 2017, immediately following the Trump Administration’s announcement that it intends to withdraw the U.S. from the international Paris Climate Agreement. This week’s UNFCCC convening is the first formal gathering since that announcement.

The U.S. Climate Alliance issued the following joint statement:

“Climate change is a global crisis that requires global action, and Americans join the rest of the world in taking critical steps and implementing policies that will meet this challenge together, while ensuring a better economy, better jobs, and a better future for all. The U.S. Climate Alliance has a message for the world: We are here. We are your allies on climate change.”

The 15 U.S. Climate Alliance states and territories – representing 116 million Americans and approximately 40 percent of U.S. GDP – have committed to meet or beat the targets of the Paris Agreement, track and report progress, and accelerate state-level action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. As outlined in the 2017 U.S Climate Alliance Annual Report, released in September, members are actively working across all sectors of the economy to meet the challenge of climate change head-on.

Thanks to the climate and energy policies they are implementing, U.S. Climate Alliance states and territories are on track to meet their share of the first target established for the United States under the Paris Agreement – of a 26-28 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2025. Because of these ambitious policies, Alliance states are also home to fast-growing clean energy industries and 1.3 million clean energy jobs, and have outpaced the rest of the U.S. in overall economic growth.

In addition to the 4 governors attending the meeting, at least 6 other U.S. Climate Alliance members will be represented at the COP by governors’ staff and/or state agency officials.

Statements from U.S. Climate Alliance governors on the UNFCC 23rd Conference of the Parties (COP23):

California Gov. Edmund G. Brown, Jr.: “While the White House declares war on climate science and retreats from the Paris Agreement, California is doing the opposite and taking action.  We are joining with our partners from every part of the world to do what needs to be done to prevent irreversible climate change.”

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo: “In New York, we are facing the effects of climate change firsthand and are taking bold steps to meet the challenge. We have made great progress cutting emissions from the power sector nearly 50 percent since 1990, and our state will be coal free by 2020. We are ramping up renewable energy at a record pace to reach our mandate of 50 percent by 2030 and will continue to show climate leadership across all sectors of our economy, including transportation which has now become the largest source of greenhouse gas emissions in our state. Make no mistake, with our partners in the U.S. Climate Alliance we will uphold the mantle of climate leadership in the United States.”

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee: “Washington state is proud to stand with the global community in a shared commitment to combating the unacceptable dangers posed by unabated climate change. Our state is taking aggressive action to reduce carbon pollution, while demonstrating that climate action and economic growth can go hand in hand – last year we led the nation in GDP growth. Washington has implemented the nation’s first Clean Air Rule, to cap and reduce carbon pollution. We are weaning our state off coal power. We’ve also developed a Clean Energy Fund to develop and deploy clean energy technologies, and are electrifying our transportation system by promoting electric vehicles and charging station infrastructure. Washington is proud to join other members of the U.S. Climate Alliance in demonstrating American climate leadership at the COP23, regardless of the actions of the current U.S. administration.”

Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper: “Coloradans, and indeed the country, expect us to help lead the way toward a clean and affordable energy future. The clean energy industry is a vital part of a thriving U.S. economy, and drives the creation of well-paying jobs in Colorado and across our nation. A strong U.S. presence at Bonn is critical to showing we will continue to be a key player in addressing one of the most pressing issues facing our country’s economic future: global climate change.”

Connecticut Gov. Dannel P. Malloy: “Despite the Trump Administration’s refusal to accept the clear and indisputable scientific fact that humans are in fact responsible for climate change, Connecticut is committed to honoring the terms of the Paris Agreement. Rather than reversing course and isolating ourselves, states are demonstrating international leadership on one of the most pressing global issue of our lifetimes and actively working to reign in harmful carbon emissions.”

Delaware Gov. John Carney: “The U.S. Climate Alliance sends a powerful statement that the United States has not abandoned the global community in the fight against climate change. Delaware is proud to be part of this partnership, and we will continue to do our part through a commitment to greenhouse gas reductions and sustainable development. I support my fellow Climate Alliance Governors as they represent all Americans dedicated to a safe and prosperous future through global unity and collaboration.”

Hawaii Gov. David Ige: “As Earth’s most isolated island chain, climate change poses an existential threat to Hawaii and our pacific island neighbors. Hawaii has already made tremendous progress toward implementation of aggressive climate mitigation actions. We are the first state to enact legislation that recognizes and abides by certain provisions of the Paris Climate Accord. We are committed to 100 percent renewable energy. Only through genuine collaboration with others across Island Earth will our children and grandchildren be able to call Hawaii home.”

Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker: “The Commonwealth of Massachusetts’ nation-leading record on climate action, clean energy innovation and environmental protection continually strengthens our communities, economy and natural resources. We are proud to stand with several other U.S. states in our commitment to combatting and preparing for the impacts of climate change and we will continue to work together to adopt best practices and protect future generations.”

Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton: “Minnesota and this growing coalition of states will continue to advance our clean energy economies and reduce harmful greenhouse gas emissions. In partnership with one other and with nations around the world, we can make significant progress to save our planet and secure a cleaner energy future for our children and grandchildren.”

Oregon Gov. Kate Brown: “The Trump Administration is forfeiting the United States’ role as the global leader in the fight against climate change, while leaving individual states vulnerable to the economic risks inherent to climate change. Participation in the Paris Agreement means moving toward a sustainable economy that creates jobs while meeting carbon reduction goals at the same time. Oregon and the rest of the US Climate Alliance states are committed to preparing for the clean energy economy of the future, not running away from it.”

Rhode Island Gov. Gina Raimondo: “There is no question: climate change is real, and it poses a real threat to our citizens and our environment. As the Ocean State, Rhode Island is particularly vulnerable, with more than 400 miles of coastline. I am committed to continuing to work with my fellow Governors to uphold the principles of the Paris Climate Agreement and protect our environment for future generations.”

Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe: “I look forward to traveling to Bonn, Germany to tell the story of how Virginia is driving clean energy investment and carbon reduction despite President Trump’s decision to roll back commonsense safeguards. The broad coalition of support for the Paris Agreement provides an opportunity to encourage potential business partners and investors to come to a Commonwealth that clearly values clean energy and a clean environment.”