A coalition of US economic, education, and local government leaders announced on Monday they will continue to abide by the Paris agreement regardless of America’s withdrawal, forming the We Are Still In movement. The coalition represents 120 million Americans and $6.2 trillion of the US economy.
In total, the group includes125 cities, 9 states, 902 businesses and investors, and 183 colleges and universities. Over 20 of the businesses who signed on are Fortune 500 companies.
The group penned an open letter on Monday, stating, “The Trump administration’s announcement undermines a key pillar in the fight against climate change and damages the world’s ability to avoid the most dangerous and costly effects of climate change. Importantly, it is also out of step with what is happening in the United States.”
The group declared it will pursue climate goals, “in the absence of leadership by Washington,” adding “it is local and state governments, along with businesses, that are primarily responsible for the dramatic decrease in greenhouse gas emissions in recent years. Actions by each group will multiply and accelerate in the years ahead, no matter what policies Washington may adopt.”
The list of signatories includes familiar names like Apple, Google, Tesla, Target, eBay, Lyft, Adidas, Facebook, Nike, and other business giants. Participating states include California, Connecticut, North Carolina, Oregon, New York, Rhode Island, Virginia, Washington and Hawaii.
Governor Terry McAuliffe of Virginia commented on his state’s participation in a press release, saying: “President Trump’s announcement to withdraw the United States from the Paris Climate Agreement does not speak for the states and cities that are committed to fighting climate change and paving the way for a new energy economy. If the federal government insists on abdicating leadership on this issue, it will be up to the American people to step forward — and in Virginia we are doing just that.”
Lyft CEO John Zimmer commented in a press release: “Collective action is a powerful force that will ensure the U.S. remains on track to meet and hopefully exceed the goals of the Paris Agreement. Lyft is proud to be part of this coalition and will be taking additional actions in the months and years ahead to ensure we do our part in addressing one of the greatest challenges of our time.”
Companies, investors, mayors and governors, and colleges and universities can sign up to join the movement on the website. A full list of signatories is available on the website as well.
Since President Trump’s announcement on June 1st that he plans to remove the US from the Paris agreement, 211 mayors have adopted the Paris Agreement goals for their cities, 13 Governors have joined to create the bipartisan U.S. Climate Alliance, and 17 governors have released statements standing by Paris, according to a press release from We Are Still In.
Trump said on June 1st that he would try to renegotiate a new Paris agreement deal for the US, something that European leaders – like France, Germany, and Italy – have been adamant will not happen. “We will see if we can make a deal that’s fair,” Trump said in his speech. “If we can, that’s great. And if we can’t, that’s fine.”
Read the full letter below:
We, the undersigned mayors, governors, college and university leaders, businesses, and investors are joining forces for the first time to declare that we will continue to support climate action to meet the Paris Agreement.
In December 2015 in Paris, world leaders signed the first global commitment to fight climate change. The landmark agreement succeeded where past attempts failed because it allowed each country to set its own emission reduction targets and adopt its own strategies for reaching them. In addition, nations – inspired by the actions of local and regional governments, along with businesses – came to recognize that fighting climate change brings significant economic and public health benefits.
The Trump administration’s announcement undermines a key pillar in the fight against climate change and damages the world’s ability to avoid the most dangerous and costly effects of climate change. Importantly, it is also out of step with what is happening in the United States.
In the U.S., it is local and state governments, along with businesses, that are primarily responsible for the dramatic decrease in greenhouse gas emissions in recent years. Actions by each group will multiply and accelerate in the years ahead, no matter what policies Washington may adopt.
In the absence of leadership from Washington, states, cities, colleges and universities, businesses and investors, representing a sizeable percentage of the U.S. economy will pursue ambitious climate goals, working together to take forceful action and to ensure that the U.S. remains a global leader in reducing emissions.
It is imperative that the world know that in the U.S., the actors that will provide the leadership necessary to meet our Paris commitment are found in city halls, state capitals, colleges and universities, investors and businesses. Together, we will remain actively engaged with the international community as part of the global effort to hold warming to well below 2°C and to accelerate the transition to a clean energy economy that will benefit our security, prosperity, and health.