US President Donald Trump famously declared that he represented Pittsburgh, not Paris, as he signalled his displeasure at America’s participation in the 2015 Paris Agreement on Climate Change. Yet, two years on from COP21 and Paris, the Mayor of Pittsburgh Bill Peduto travelled to Germany last week to take part in the latest UN conference on climate change, COP23, in Bonn.
Peduto was there as part of a large delegation of US officials and businesspeople representing organizations still committed to the Paris Agreement – promoting microgrids in Pittsburgh’s case. He was part of a much larger initiative from non-federal America present to demonstrate the support of many US states, cities and businesses for action climate change.
Indeed the Governor of California, and COP 23 Special Advisor for States and Regions, Jerry Brown, together with Michael Bloomberg, the UN Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for Cities and Climate Change, released the America’s Pledge report at the event. This addresses the scale of climate action in the US from other than federal government sources, says the pledge organization.
And there is plenty of American support – the report says that the cities, states and businesses supporting the Agreement represent more than half of the US economy and population. Indeed, if these non-federal actors were a country, their economy would be the third largest in the world, and bigger than all but two national parties to the Paris Agreement (the US and China). And, says the report, the 20 US states, 110 US cities, and over 1,400 businesses with US operations have all adopted quantified emissions reduction targets.
The group is helping to ensure that the US remains a global leader in the fight against climate change, said Bloomberg: ‘In Paris, the US pledged to measure and report our progress reducing emissions alongside every other nation. Through America’s Pledge, we’re doing just that, and we’re going to continue to uphold our end of the deal, with or without Washington.’
Also in the delegation to Bonn was the retail giant Wal-Mart, the company lying second in the latest US Environmental Protection Agency’s Green Power Partnership table of companies that use most electricity generated from on-site renewables. Decentralized energy is alive and well in the US, despite the Trump position on Paris.