I forgot my password

US Endorses Climate Action Despite Washington's Stance

The U.S. is not retreating from taking climate action in spite of the Trump administration's intention to withdraw from the Paris Climate Agreement, the UN Secretary-General’s Special Envoy said on Thursday.

Michael R. Bloomberg, during his speech at the Global Climate Action Summit in San Francisco, acknowledged that climate change is a global challenge and said Washington ought to be leading from the front. However, Bloomberg, who is also the president of the C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group, clarified that many people around the world incorrectly perceive the U.S. as backing away from taking climate action.

Although he admitted that after the announcement of the U.S.' intention to withdraw from the climate agreement in June 2017, "neither of us was happy about it, to say the least."

But he disputed that despite Washington’s decision, there are U.S. influencers who are committed to the climate change agenda. "Nothing could be further from the truth. It's why we are here today [at the Global Climate Action Summit]," he said.

"We want the world to know that Americans are more determined than ever to make progress on climate – and that we are making progress. A lot of progress," he stressed.

He added that, "In fact, Americans are making just as much progress under this administration as we did under the last. You wouldn't know that from reading the headlines – because the headlines focus on the political fights in Washington."

He cited California and New York City as great examples of cities that show how fighting climate change and growing the economy go hand in hand. He explained that a record number of jobs were created while at the same time the carbon footprint was reduced by 19 percent.

"The real action is happening in cities, states, and the private sector," he said, adding that the good news is these groups are positioning the U.S. to uphold its end of the Paris Agreement, regardless of what happens in Washington.

He explained that decisions that have the most influence over greenhouse gas emissions in the U.S. are not made by the federal government but rather are made by mayors and governors, who want to deliver cheaper energy, more jobs, and cleaner air.

"[These decisions] - they are made by CEOs, who want to save money on energy costs and capitalize on new business opportunities generated by advanced technology. And they are made by citizens, who want to breathe air and drink water that won't make them sick," he added.

Thanks to these groups, over the last decade, the U.S. has cut carbon emissions more than any other large nation. "Last year, with no help from Washington, U.S. emissions fell to their lowest levels in 25 years," he said.

Reductions are being made across America but this news is not being written, according to Bloomberg.

"Washington is not in charge of America's energy production but consumers are. New technology is delivering exactly what they want: energy that is cheaper and cleaner than coal. Washington can’t stop the decline of coal – and it can’t keep America from fulfilling the commitment we made in Paris," he said.

He reiterated that the group of Americans committed to the Paris Agreement represents more economic might than any country still in the Agreement, other than China, even if Washington drops out of the Paris deal.

California is not only spearheading the fight against climate change but is also leading a group of states that are resisting federal rollbacks of fuel efficiency standards for vehicles – rollbacks that neither automakers nor consumers want.

Other states are setting their own rules to reduce methane leaks from oil and gas operations, and cities all around the country are cutting carbon emissions through energy efficiency, which brings savings to residents, he said.

In spite of obstacles that Washington tries to throw in the way, "We’re going to keep fighting – and we're going to keep winning," he asserted.

"So to everyone here, keep up all the great work you're doing. And I look forward to seeing new efforts and partnerships come out of this forum that will keep us on the path to victory in the fight against climate change," he concluded.

EVENTS Vienna Energy Tansition Forum