Cities ‘step up’ as Trump withdraws from Paris climate agreement

5th June 2017 Jonathan Andrews

Donald Trump, the US President, has announced his intention to formally withdraw from the Paris Agreement– the global action plan signed by 195 countries during the COP21 negotiations in 2015 to reduce the impacts of climate change. Despite many US mayors feeling dismayed, the action has however emboldened them to pursue commitments already in place.

Other international city organisations, US sub-national governments, and business have added their support to US cities and the goals of the Paris Agreement.

What they said:

US Conference of Mayors

We see the withdrawal from the Paris Climate Accord as an abdication of American leadership and America’s mayors will certainly fill that void,” said Greg Stanton, Mayor of Phoenix and Chair of the Conference’s Environment Committee. “We will symbolically sign on and take actions necessary so that America meets its obligations under the Paris Accord, despite actions of this Administration. This is a local issue that mayors must come together on and we will not shirk our responsibilities.  The eyes of the world are upon us and they are disappointed. America’s mayors are stepping up to the plate and taking on a greater international role as a result.”

US National League of Cities

“President Trump’s decision to withdraw the US from the Paris Agreement is a flagrant disregard for the safety and prosperity of American cities who are already dealing with the devastating effects of climate change,” said Matt Zone, President. “With or without federal support, local action is being taken to mitigate greenhouse gas emissions and create a more sustainable future. More than 130 US cities have signed on to the Compact of Mayors, committing to reduce local greenhouse gas emissions, enhance resilience to climate change and publicly track their progress.”

100 Resilient Cities

“While this is an ill-informed and disappointing decision, the global community should look past the White House to the urban centres–in America and around the world–for leadership on climate change,” said Michael Berkowitz, President of 100 Resilient Cities. “From Seattle to Dallas to Miami to New York, cities are investing in resilient solutions that are preparing residents for whatever future our changing climate brings us. The creative, multi-benefit approaches to climate challenges that cities across the country are taking are now even more critical to the country’s future.”

Climate Mayors (Mayors National Climate Action Agenda)

“As 187 US mayors representing 52 million Americans, we will adopt, honour, and uphold the commitments to the goals enshrined in the Paris Agreement,” said a statement. “We will intensify efforts to meet each of our cities’ current climate goals, push for new action to meet the 1.5 degrees Celsius target, and work together to create a 21st century clean energy economy.”

C40 Cities

As the C40 Chair, a network of ninety-one of the world’s major cities committed to tackling climate change, and as the Mayor of Paris, I urge the US Administration to reconsider their decision,” said Anne Hidalgo. “Regardless of President Trump’s final decision, the great cities of the world, in particular the 12 American C40 cities, remain resolutely committed to doing what needs to be done to implement the Paris Agreement.”

Bloomberg Philanthropies

“Americans are not walking away from the Paris Climate Agreement,” said Michael Bloomberg, United Nations Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for Cities and Climate Change. “Just the opposite–we are forging ahead. Mayors, governors, and business leaders from both political parties are signing onto a statement of support that we will submit to the UN–and together, we will reach the emission reduction goals the US made in Paris in 2015. As a sign of our commitment, Bloomberg Philanthropies, in partnership with others, will make up the approximately US$15 million in funding that the UN’s Climate Secretariat stands to lose from Washington. Americans will honour and fulfill the Paris Agreement by leading from the bottom up–and there isn’t anything Washington can do to stop us.”

ICLEI – Local Governments for Sustainability

“President Trump’s decision to withdraw from the Paris Agreement is out of step with reality and the current drive towards a global low-carbon transition,” said Gino Van Begin, Secretary General, ICLEI. “Local governments, in the US and globally, will keep moving forward on clean energy, sustainable transport and resilience, as most countries have again pledged to do, from the most vulnerable to major emitters.”

Global Parliament of Mayors (GPM)

“When nation states default on their sovereign responsibilities, cities have a responsibility to take action,” said a GPM statement. “They do not need to ask permission. The GPM’s mission is to empower cities to take action on climate change and other challenges to the global commons including migration and urban safety.”

EUROCITIES

“As European city leaders we stand united with US cities, states and businesses that are now more determined than ever to honour the Paris Agreement and continue to lead the fight against climate change,” said Daniël Termont, President. “If President Trump thinks he can undermine years of effort to secure a better world for all citizens, he is wrong.”

Council of European Municipalities and Regions (CEMR)

“We invite all US mayors to work in close partnership with all local leaders in the world to keep fighting climate change and achieve our common goal of decarbonising our societies,” said Juan Espadas Cejas, Mayor of Seville, and CEMR spokesperson for climate and energy. “CEMR will always stand by your side, also engaging in concrete ambitious climate action in the framework of the European and the global Covenant of Mayors, UCLG and all partners engaged.”

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