Cities, states fight uphill to uphold Paris goals

Jon Talton | Even though the Trump administration has withdrawn the United States from the climate-change accord of 195 nations, many American cities and some states are trying to fight back.

This past week, the Seattle City Council passed a resolution to stick with the goals of the Paris Agreement on climate change even though the Trump administration has withdrawn the United States.

The big question is whether it can make a difference.

To be sure, the city is not alone. Earlier this month, 298 mayors committed to “adopt, honor and uphold” the Paris goals of limiting temperature rise. More municipalities are joining almost daily.

When President Donald Trump justified dumping the climate deal because he was “elected to represent Pittsburgh, not Paris,” the Steel City’s mayor tweeted, “I can assure you that we will follow the guidelines of the Paris Agreement for our people, our economy & future.”

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At least 13 governors have made similar pledges, including Washington’s Jay Inslee.

In addition to California’s Jerry Brown and New York’s Andrew Cuomo, Inslee made Washington a founding member of the U.S. Climate Alliance, a pro-Paris coalition.

This is not mere symbolism. The cities and states (plus Puerto Rico) represent one-third of U.S. gross domestic product and 100 million Americans. California alone, which has made the biggest efforts to reduce greenhouse gases that cause climate change, enjoys the world’s sixth largest economy.

Earlier this month, Brown met with Chinese President Xi Jinping to discuss climate change and green technology. With America out of Paris, the leaders are China, Europe and … California.

According to an analysis by the Brookings Institution, under the Paris accord “states and localities may, like nations, decide for themselves to set emissions reductions targets and declare these to the world.”

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