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Asia Today ISSN 1861-4604 Monday, October 23, 2017

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America tells Donald Trump on Climate Change: We got this!

America from the Paris climate?

Share on Facebook September 18, 2017, Reporter : BNN, Reader : 65

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WASHINGTON, U.S. - U.S. states, and cities have come up with a plan to offer their own forecast for reducing global warming, months after U.S. President Donald Trump withdrew America from the Paris climate accord.

For decades now, leaders outside Washington have been implementing measures to combat carbon emissions and promoting green energy.

However, the Trump administration’s rolling back of federal environmental protections has spurred localities around the country to step up the unprecedented effort.

Trump has targeted legislation, amendments, and resolutions aimed at curbing carbon emissions that are in line with key tenets of the Paris climate pact ever since he took office. 

The landmark global coalition that came under the Paris Climate Agreement is meant to curb emissions that cause climate change.

According to Sierra Club Executive Director Michael Brune, "We’re really seeing a groundswell of activity. The U.S. is moving strongly and irreversibly forward to the transition to clean energy and to take on the climate crisis seriously, even if there is an absence of leadership coming from the White House. Because of the president’s and Congress’ intransigence when it comes to climate change, local governments are looking to do more."

So far, reports reveal that 377 mayors have joined together in a group called Climate Mayors.

They have pledged to honor carbon emissions goals set by the Paris deal in their own cities. 

Under the Paris agreement, the U.S. had committed to cutting greenhouse gas emissions by 26 percent to 28 percent from 2005 levels by 2025.

This is not the only effort within the U.S.

America’s Pledge is another group that was created in July by California Gov. Jerry Brown and former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg to help organize states, cities and businesses in their efforts to bring down greenhouse gas emissions. 

The group currently includes officials from 200 cities and counties and nine states.

State capitals and city halls have initiated several back to back actions supporting those goals.

Both Democrats and Republicans alike have proposed over 370 bills of varying scope — all related to climate change, emissions reductions, carbon capture and green jobs in 41 states and Puerto Rico.

Further, the National Conference of State Legislatures has revealed that at least 50 of those measures have been enacted and 200 are still pending.

Other states are focused on tackling the issue comprehensively.

Reports revealed that in Hawaii, the state’s Democratic-controlled legislature adopted or passed a series of measures, including making chunks of the Paris pact state law, allocating millions of dollars for emission reductions programs, and taking a step toward mandating climate change education in the state’s public schools.

Meanwhile, in California, in July, Brown extended his state’s cap-and-trade program, which makes businesses in the Golden State pay for their carbon dioxide emissions to 2030. 

It had been due to expire in 2020.

As part of the program, limits are set on the amount of carbon dioxide a company is allowed to emit.

Further, the program also includes auctions, that are held in which companies bid against each other for permits that allow a specific amount of emission. 

According to officials, the funds from the auctions go into a state greenhouse gas reduction fund.

Other nations, like Maine, for instance, has used a different, much narrower approach.

The politically divided Legislature worked across party lines to issue $5 million in bonds to pay for prediction models for the state’s coastal zones that will help monitor "sea level changes in order to mitigate the impact of help prepare for rising sea levels" caused by climate change.

Further, Maryland’s Democratic-controlled state Legislature passed a bill to incentivize farming practices that reduce runoff and emissions.

Long Beach, Calif., Mayor Robert Garcia was quoted as saying in an NBC report, "There’s literally nothing more important than saving the planet, and now it’s cities leading the effort. That’s the world we live in with Trump having withdrawn from Paris."

The U.S. Conference of Mayors and the Center for Climate and Energy Solutions recently conducted a survey of more than 100 American cities with at least 30,000 people.

The findings of the survey, released exclusively on NBC News, stated that nearly two-thirds of the cities are procuring green-fleet vehicles for city use and public transportation.

Further, about two-thirds of the cities have also made commitments to require energy efficiency in all government buildings.

In addition, 63 percent have installed public charging stations for electric vehicles. 

And another 23 percent said they’re considering programs that would result in the installation.

In a joint statement, Santa Fe Mayor Javier Gonzales and Salt Lake City Mayor Jackie Biskupski said that the survey’s results "indicate the desire of cities of all sizes to do more to meet the challenges of clean energy and sustainable development.”

In addition, last week, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio announced a first-of-its-kind proposal that would require owners of all aging buildings over 25,000 square feet, including apartments, to meet new greenhouse gas emission standards.

Blasio had, in 2014, committed to cutting the city’s emissions by 80 percent by 2050.

Jackson Morris, who manages on climate-mitigation policies for the eastern U.S. for the National Resources Defense Council has said, “They weren’t just sitting on their hands. (Trump) lit a fire under them, it added another layer of urgency." 

Meanwhile, on Saturday, the European Union’s top energy official said that the Trump administration officials have stated that the U.S. wouldn’t pull out of the Paris Agreement and had offered to re-engage in the international deal to fight climate change.

According to reports, the shift from Trump’s June decision to withdraw and renegotiate the landmark accord or craft a new deal came during a meeting of more than 30 ministers led by Canada, China, and the European Union in Montreal.

European Commissioner for Climate Action and Energy Miguel Arias Cañete said in a statement, “The U.S. has stated that they will not renegotiate the Paris accord, but they will try to review the terms on which they could be engaged under this agreement.”

Then, in a statement, a White House spokeswoman said the administration’s position on Paris had not changed.

The statement, however, also noted that the president’s stance on withdrawing from the deal had never been set in stone.

Deputy press secretary Lindsay Walters in a statement, “There has been no change in the U.S.’s position on the Paris agreement. As the president has made abundantly clear, the U.S. is withdrawing unless we can re-enter on terms that are more favorable to our country.”

 

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