America’s Pledge can drive and tally U.S. climate action

Today, Gov. Jerry Brown and Michael Bloomberg are launching America’s Pledge—an initiative to compile and quantify the actions of U.S. states, cities and businesses to drive down their greenhouse gas emissions consistent with the goals of the Paris Agreement.

America’s Pledge will for the first time aggregate and quantify the commitments of these “non-state actors,” demonstrating to the international community that U.S. climate resolve remains strong despite President Trump’s decision to withdraw from Paris.

The ambitious initiative also will provide a roadmap for increased ambition, outlining steps these groups can take to further reduce their emissions.

Since the president’s announcement, an unprecedented number of U.S. states, cities, and businesses have affirmed their support for the landmark climate deal, including through the “We Are Still In” declaration signed by more than 1,500 businesses, nearly 200 cities and counties, nine states, and over 300 universities. 

This enthusiasm for climate action is as yet unquantified, but it’s vast and varied and growing every day:

  • Just this week, California Gov. Jerry Brown and legislative leaders released a plan to extend through 2030 California’s cap-and-trade program. The program marshals market forces to motivate investment in low-carbon solutions, drive innovation, create jobs, and cut emissions cost-effectively.
  • Also this week, Colorado announced it will be the 14th state in the newly formed U.S. Climate Alliance, whose members together represent over a third of the U.S. population and GDP. The states are committed to the U.S. meeting its Paris target of reducing emissions 26 to 28 percent from 2005 levels by 2025.
  • More than 350 Climate Mayors have adopted the Paris Agreement goals for their cities. And more than 100 U.S. cities both large and small have pledged to transition their communities to 100% clean energy.
  • About two-thirds or more of mayors who responded to a recent survey by C2ES and The U.S. Conference of Mayors said they generate or buy renewable electricity to power city buildings or operations, buy green vehicles for municipal fleets, and have energy efficiency policies for municipal buildings. And they want to partner with the private sector do more.

C2ES is partnering with the mayors conference, creating the Alliance for a Sustainable Future to bring cities and companies together to work on concrete approaches to climate change, including implementing the ambitious commitments set forth to achieve Paris goals.

We also work with leading companies on efficient, effective climate solutions. Savvy business leaders recognize climate impacts hit their bottom line, posing risks to their facilities, operations, and supply and distribution chains. They also recognize that clean energy and transportation technology are business opportunities that can grow the economy and create jobs. According to the Advanced Energy Economy, advanced energy is a $200 billion industry in the United States that supports more than 3 million jobs.

  • In letters, statements, and full-page ads, including ones sponsored by C2ES, companies as diverse as Apple, BP, DuPont, General Mills, National Grid, Rio Tinto, Shell, Unilever and Walmart called for the U.S. to stay in the Paris Agreement.
  • More than 100 companies, including Bank of America, BHP Billiton, Dow Chemical Company, and Shell, are supporting a new framework on reporting climate risk in their financial filings. C2ES has been working with companies to inform the recommendations.
  • More than 1,200 companies worldwide, including Microsoft, are using an internal price on carbon, to drive cost-effective emissions reductions across the company. C2ES is helping companies share best practices.

Cities, states, and companies are moving toward clean energy and transportation because it makes sense. These commitments and actions taken by these entities across the U.S. economy can help demonstrate the value of a coordinated, national approach to addressing climate change. Climate action can save money, create jobs, improve public health, and reduce the emissions that are altering our environment.

America’s Pledge will help show the world that the United States remains engaged on climate and that many are working hard to deliver on our Paris pledge.