U.S. Climate Alliance: Now recruiting
U.S. Climate Alliance: Now recruiting

The Unit­ed States Cli­mate Alliance — found­ed last week by Wash­ing­ton Gov­er­nor Jay Inslee, Cal­i­for­nia Gov­er­nor Jer­ry Brown, and New York Gov­er­nor Andrew Cuo­mo — is only a few days old. But already, its mem­ber­ship has more than tripled.

Yes­ter­day, the found­ing mem­bers of the Alliance announced that nine more states have joined, plus Puer­to Rico. The nine new states are Con­necti­cut, Delaware, Hawaii, Mass­a­chu­setts, Min­neso­ta, Ore­gon, Rhode Island, Ver­mont and Virginia.

Here’s the full press release:

The U.S. Cli­mate Alliance announced that Con­necti­cut, Delaware, Hawaii, Mass­a­chu­setts, Min­neso­ta, Ore­gon, Puer­to Rico, Rhode Island, Ver­mont and Vir­ginia have all joined the coali­tion, which is com­mit­ted to uphold­ing the Paris Accord and tak­ing aggres­sive action on cli­mate change.

In response to Pres­i­dent Trump’s deci­sion to with­draw from the Paris Accord, Wash­ing­ton Gov. Jay Inslee, New York Gov. Andrew M. Cuo­mo, and Cal­i­for­nia Gov. Edmund G. Brown Jr. formed the Alliance to con­vene U.S. states com­mit­ted to achiev­ing the U.S. goal of reduc­ing emis­sions 26–28 per­cent from 2005 lev­els and meet­ing or exceed­ing the tar­gets of the fed­er­al Clean Pow­er Plan.

With input from all par­tic­i­pants, the U.S. Cli­mate Alliance will also act as a forum to sus­tain and strength­en exist­ing cli­mate pro­grams, pro­mote the shar­ing of infor­ma­tion and best prac­tices, and imple­ment new pro­grams to reduce car­bon emis­sions from all sec­tors of the economy.

“Those of us who under­stand sci­ence and feel the urgency of pro­tect­ing our chil­dren’s air and water are as unit­ed as ever in con­fronting one of the great­est chal­lenges of our life­time,” Gov. Jay Inslee said.

“Our col­lec­tive efforts to act on cli­mate will ensure we main­tain the Unit­ed State’s com­mit­ment to curb car­bon pol­lu­tion while advanc­ing a clean ener­gy econ­o­my that will bring good-pay­ing jobs to Amer­i­ca’s workers.”

“The Pres­i­dent has already said cli­mate change is a hoax, which is the exact oppo­site of vir­tu­al­ly all sci­en­tif­ic and world­wide opin­ion,” Cal­i­for­nia Gov. Edmund G. Brown, Jr. said.  “I don’t believe fight­ing real­i­ty is a good strat­e­gy – not for Amer­i­ca, not for any­body. If the Pres­i­dent is going to be AWOL in this pro­found­ly impor­tant human endeav­or, then Cal­i­for­nia and oth­er states will step up.”

“As the fed­er­al gov­ern­ment turns its back on the envi­ron­ment, New York and states across the coun­try are pick­ing up the man­tle of cli­mate lead­er­ship and show­ing the world it’s pos­si­ble to address cli­mate change while also cre­at­ing good-pay­ing careers,” New York Gov. Andrew M. Cuo­mo said.

“The U.S. Cli­mate Alliance is com­mit­ted to meet­ing the stan­dards set forth in the Paris Accord regard­less of Washington’s irre­spon­si­ble actions. We wel­come these 9 new mem­bers and look for­ward to col­lab­o­rat­ing and main­tain­ing the momen­tum in the glob­al effort to pro­tect our plan­et, while jump­start­ing the clean ener­gy economy.”

“Con­necti­cut has been a nation­al leader in com­bat­ing cli­mate change and we have no plans of slow­ing down our efforts,” Con­necti­cut Gov. Dan­nel P. Mal­loy said. “In the absence of lead­er­ship from the White House in address­ing cli­mate change, it is incum­bent upon the states to take action in order to pro­tect their res­i­dents. We remain com­mit­ted to meet­ing the stan­dards set forth in the Paris Cli­mate Agree­ment because it is the right thing to do for not only the future of our state, but for the future of our plan­et. I am proud to stand with my fel­low gov­er­nors in sup­port of efforts to reverse the harm­ful effects of glob­al warm­ing and to send a mes­sage to the rest of the world that we accept the sci­ence of cli­mate change and we will not let the mis­guid­ed beliefs of a few ruin our planet.”

“Delaware is the country’s low­est-lying state and with 381 miles of coast­line, cli­mate change is a very real threat to our future,” Delaware Gov. John Car­ney said. “As sea lev­els rise, more than 17,000 Delaware homes, near­ly 500 miles of road­way and thou­sands of acres of wildlife habi­tat includ­ing our crit­i­cal wet­lands are at risk of per­ma­nent inun­da­tion. Ris­ing aver­age tem­per­a­tures and an increase in extreme weath­er events also pose health risks to Delaware­ans, and threat­en our econ­o­my. The U.S. should lead in the glob­al fight against cli­mate change. Delaware is proud to join this coali­tion of states pro­vid­ing that nec­es­sary leadership.”

“As the Com­mon­wealth reit­er­ates its com­mit­ment to exceed the emis­sion reduc­tion tar­gets of the Paris Cli­mate Agree­ment, today we join the U.S. Cli­mate Alliance to expand on our efforts while part­ner­ing with oth­er states to com­bat cli­mate change,” Mass­a­chu­setts Gov. Char­lie Bak­er said. “After speak­ing with Gov­er­nors Cuo­mo and Scott, our admin­is­tra­tion looks for­ward to con­tin­ued, bipar­ti­san col­lab­o­ra­tion with oth­er states to pro­tect the envi­ron­ment, grow the econ­o­my and deliv­er a brighter future to the next generation.”

“I am very pleased to announce that Min­neso­ta will join the U.S. Cli­mate Alliance, to uphold the tenets of the Paris Cli­mate Change Agree­ment in our state,” Min­neso­ta Gov.  Mark Day­ton said. “Pres­i­dent Trump’s with­draw­al will cause seri­ous dam­age to our envi­ron­ment and our econ­o­my. Nev­er­the­less, Min­neso­ta and oth­er states will show the world what we can achieve by work­ing togeth­er to con­serve ener­gy, to use clean­er and renew­able ener­gy, and to leave a liv­able plan­et to our chil­dren and grandchildren.”

“The ‘Amer­i­ca First’ doc­trine should put our chil­dren first too,” Ore­gon Gov. Kate Brown said. “Future gen­er­a­tions deserve to inher­it a world they can thrive in, not one that plays pol­i­tics and ignores the fact our cli­mate is chang­ing. Despite the deci­sion by the White House to retreat, it is our moral oblig­a­tion to ful­fill the goals of the Paris Agree­ment. Ore­gon will con­tin­ue to make mean­ing­ful strides, with the rest of the world, to ensure our com­mu­ni­ties and economies adapt to meet the chal­lenge of cli­mate change.”

“Cli­mate change is a real prob­lem for all and requires imme­di­ate action to ensure future gen­er­a­tions are left with a sus­tain­able plan­et,” Puer­to Rico Gov. Ricar­do Rossel­ló saidOur admin­is­tra­tion is com­mit­ted to pro­tect­ing the envi­ron­ment. As a Gov­er­nor, who is also a sci­en­tist, I val­ue sci­ence and data as pri­ma­ry tools in the deci­sion mak­ing process. As such, I strong­ly oppose the with­draw­al from the Paris Agree­ment. Our admin­is­tra­tion under­stands that all pol­i­cy deci­sions, even those per­ceived to being small, can have big, last­ing effects on our plan­et.  Puer­to Rico, an Island that 3.4 mil­lion Amer­i­can Cit­i­zens call home, would suf­fer great­ly from the dev­as­tat­ing effects of ris­ing sea lev­els.  But we all stand to lose if we don’t take mean­ing­ful action right now. We call upon all pub­lic offi­cials across our nation to con­tin­ue to sup­port rules and reg­u­la­tions that pro­tect our envi­ron­ment. As most of the world moves for­ward, our nation can­not sit idle and lag behind.”

“Pres­i­dent Trump’s deci­sion to with­draw from the Paris Agree­ment was a tremen­dous mis­take. Rhode Island may be a small state, but cli­mate change can have a big impact on our com­mu­ni­ties,” Rhode Island Gov. Gina M. Rai­mon­do said. “We are deter­mined to fight cli­mate change from the front lines so that we can pre­serve our envi­ron­ment — includ­ing our Nar­ra­gansett Bay — for future gen­er­a­tions and cre­ate good-pay­ing, future-proof jobs in the process. I’m proud to join Gov­er­nors Cuo­mo, Brown and Inslee in this effort and hope oth­er gov­er­nors — from both par­ties — join as well.”

“Grow­ing our econ­o­my and pro­tect­ing our envi­ron­ment by sup­port­ing clean­er and more afford­able ener­gy and trans­porta­tion choic­es can go togeth­er,” Ver­mont Gov. Phil Scott said.

“If our nation­al gov­ern­ment isn’t will­ing to lead in this area, the states are pre­pared to step up and lead. I look for­ward to sup­port­ing con­tin­ued bipar­ti­san coop­er­a­tion on these mat­ters and thank Gov­er­nor Bak­er, Gov­er­nor Inslee, Gov­er­nor Cuo­mo and Gov­er­nor Brown for work­ing col­lab­o­ra­tive­ly on this impor­tant issue.”

“As the first state in the Trump era to take exec­u­tive action to lim­it car­bon emis­sions and cre­ate clean ener­gy jobs, Vir­ginia is proud to join the Cli­mate Alliance,” Vir­ginia Gov. Ter­ry McAu­li­ffe said. “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.”

Last week, when the Alliance was formed, unim­pressed Trump drones on Twit­ter tried to dis­miss it. One post­ed a GIF of three white men laugh­ing with the cap­tion: “When you learn the “Unit­ed States Cli­mate Alliance” is only 3 States.”

Well, “RightWired”, the Alliance now stands at twelve states plus Puer­to Rico. As we pre­dict­ed, more states have hap­pi­ly signed up. It took less than a hun­dred and twen­ty-five hours for mem­ber­ship to quadruple.

At the time of its incep­tion, the Alliance did have just three mem­ber states… but those states rep­re­sent 63 mil­lion Amer­i­cans and 20% of total U.S. GDP.

That was noth­ing to laugh at, but now, after less than a week, the Alliance has mem­ber states rep­re­sent­ing an esti­mat­ed 102,169,711 Amer­i­cans (includ­ing Puer­to Rico) and 36% of total U.S. GDP (not count­ing Puer­to Rico).

And more states are like­ly to join.

Mean­while, 1,219 gov­er­nors, may­ors, busi­ness­es, investors and col­leges and uni­ver­si­ties across Amer­i­ca (includ­ing many in Wash­ing­ton) have signed a state­ment declar­ing “we’re still in”, pledg­ing to hon­or the Paris cli­mate accord.

These pledges are all wel­come and impor­tant, but it’s impor­tant that there be fol­low-through. To stop fur­ther dam­age to the cli­mate (and pro­tect our air, water, and soil), we need to act aggres­sive­ly to reduce emis­sions. There is much more states and cities can do to accel­er­ate our tran­si­tion to clean, renew­able ener­gy, and reduce the need for ener­gy by mak­ing con­ser­va­tion a true priority.

About the author

Andrew Villeneuve is the founder and executive director of the Northwest Progressive Institute, as well as the founder of NPI's sibling, the Northwest Progressive Foundation. He has worked to advance progressive causes for over two decades as a strategist, speaker, author, and organizer. Andrew is also a cybersecurity expert, a veteran facilitator, a delegate to the Washington State Democratic Central Committee, and a member of the Climate Reality Leadership Corps.

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