As the world is still reeling from President Trump’s announcement to withdraw the United States from the Paris agreement, individuals, organizations, and states have been quick to register their disapproval and disgust.
Three states – California, New York, and Washington – have already announced they’re rebelling and forming a break-away group, while businesses, universities, and cities are similarly vowing to continue on the path of decabonization. These decisions are effectively shifting the responsibility of tackling climate change away from a federal level, and instead onto the local stage.
“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,” the Governor of New York, Andrew Cuomo, said, as the three states announced the formation of the United States Climate Alliance. “This administration is abdicating its leadership and taking a backseat to other countries in the global fight against climate change.”
Combined, California, New York, and Washington account for over a fifth of the United States GDP, with the first two states alone forming the fourth largest economy in the world. This means that the creation of the United States Climate Alliance is no small thing. The states plan to forge ahead with their Paris agreement commitments, and hope that other states will join them in taking the matter into their own hands.
Even in states that may not unanimously join the Alliance, mayors of cities right across the US have come out to say that they too will keep their promises. Pittsburgh, a city that was name-checked multiple times by the President as he was announcing the withdrawal, has already rebuked his comments and reconfirmed their own commitments.
Businesses from across the board have also voiced their dismay. Corporation after corporation have tweeted their disappointment at how the move will harm not only their business, but their customers too. Even Exxon Mobil, the largest publicly traded oil company in the world has voted to recognize the impact of climate change on their business.
“760 and counting corporations have asked the Trump presidency to not withdraw from the Paris agreement, to stay in the agreement, to stay the course of decarbonisation,” Christiana Figueres, former head of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, and was instrumental in the signing of the Paris agreement in 2015, told Channel4 News. “Plus all of the states, plus 130 cities that are completely convinced of the benefit to their economy of doing climate action.“
As Figueres said: “They will all continue to move forward. So the fact is, even if the White House steps aside, the US economy will continue to decarbonize.”