The federal government may be backing out of the Paris agreement, but that doesn’t mean America is.
First out of the gates was Climate Alliance, a group of (at the time of writing) 13 US states, both Democratic and Republican governed. Far from just continuing to cut their carbon emissions and develop their clean energy sectors, they have effectively said that they will abide by the terms of the Paris accord.
Now, We Are Still In (WASI) has come along. A grand total of 1,219 universities, colleges, investors, businesses, mayors, and governors from around the country – including much of the Climate Alliance – have declared in unison that they are still part of the Paris agreement and have sent a letter to the United Nations to underline their commitment.
“The Trump administration's announcement undermines a key pillar in the fight against climate change and damages the world's ability to avoid the most dangerous and costly effects of climate change,” the official letter reads. “Importantly, it is also out of step with what is happening in the United States.”
“Together, we will remain actively engaged with the international community as part of the global effort to hold warming to well below 2°C and to accelerate the transition to a clean energy economy that will benefit our security, prosperity, and health.”
WASI represents more than 120 million Americans – more than a third of the total population – and $6.2 trillion of the US economy, about a third of the total GDP. In essence, this means that just days after Trump made his announcement in the White House Rose Garden, at least a third of the US is still going along with the Paris agreement.
“We want to let the rest of the world know that, in the absence of any leadership from the federal government – Americans still believe in the promise of the Paris agreement,” the Governor of Oregon Kate Brown told IFLScience during a presser.
“I believe that an America First doctrine should put our children first,” she added. “Future generations deserve to inherit a world they can thrive in.”
The signatories include 19 state attorneys and 211 Mayors – who alone have jurisdiction over 50 million Americans – as well as the CEOs of Amazon, Microsoft, eBay, Mars, Adidas, Apple, Spotify, Facebook, Nike, Bloomberg, Tesla, Google, Target, Twitter, Yahoo, Intel, and hundreds more.
“If the federal government insists on abdicating leadership on this issue, it will be up to the American people to step forward – and in Virginia we are doing just that,” Terry McAuliffe, the Governor of Virginia, added in a statement.
WASI is no small feat, nor a mere protest group – this is a full-fledged rebellion, and it’s helping to save the planet.