Paris Climate Accord: Senators Reflect on Past Year
US Senators Brian Schatz (D-Hawai‘i), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.), and Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.), co-chairs of the US Senate Climate Change Task Force, released new analysis highlighting domestic actions in the past year that are helping the United States still meet its commitment to the Paris climate agreement despite President Donald Trump’s efforts to withdraw.
Across the United States, the senators report that every sector of the economy is progressing on climate and reducing emissions and released the following findings:
- Sixteen states and Puerto Rico have committed to implementing the goals of the Paris agreement and will cut greenhouse gas pollution 26-28 percent below 2005 levels by 2025, according to the update.
- Those states represent 40% of the US population and nine trillion dollars of economic activity.
- More than 100 cities and twenty states have set greenhouse gas emission targets. In total, one-third of greenhouse gas emission and more than half of the US economy remains committed to the Paris agreement.
The senators conclude their analysis with a call for comprehensive federal policy that can support and complement emerging local climate action efforts around the United States.
Senator Schatz said there are plenty of reasons to be optimistic about the ability to tackle climate change, saying:
“The rest of the world is aggressively pursuing clean energy. Here at home, the Trump administration can only do so much damage. It is significant damage, but our laws, the tax credits for wind and solar, and funding for the relevant climate agencies are still intact. Meanwhile, the number of people paying attention to climate keeps growing. This week, I met with dozens of young activists who care about the environment, and there are millions of young people across the country just like them. Together, we are going to keep making progress. This may not be the year where we can pass a carbon fee, but it is a year where we can grow the environmental movement.”
“No matter what President Trump tries to defund, delay, or deny, climate change is real and the movement to address it us unstoppable,” said Senator Markey. “There is cause for hope in the efforts of states, cities, and individuals who continue to commit to climate action in the absence of federal leadership. From renewable electricity standards, to fuel economy, to energy efficiency, we have the tools to address the generational challenge of climate change. The only thing missing is the political will. With an American president more concerned with rising stocks rather than rising seas, it falls to Congress, states, and the business community to act.”
“Backing out of the Paris Agreement cost America a key leadership role in confronting one of the most pressing challenges facing the globe,” said Senator Whitehouse. “But it did nothing to undermine the international resolve the deal represents. In fact, nations, companies, and communities all over the world—including here in the United States—have redoubled their commitment to climate action and to achieving the goals set forth in Paris.”