On 11 November at the UN conference on climate change in Bonn, COP23, US states, cities and businesses that have signed up to honour American promises under the Paris Agreement joined together to make ‘America’s pledge’, a commitment to combat global warming in direct opposition to the Trump administration’s climate policies.
To date, 20 US states and more than 50 of its largest cities, along with more than 60 of the biggest businesses in the USA, have committed to emissions reduction goals. Added together, they have an economic power of about $10tn, placing this group behind only the US as a whole ($18.6tn) and China ($11tn) in terms of GDP.
Michael Bloomberg, the former mayor of New York, led the group in promising to take measures, such as reducing coal-fired power and investing in renewable energy and efficiency, which would substantially reduce their carbon output.
But some delegates want the companies and local governments involved to go further, by submitting reports on their progress towards their emissions-cutting goals that would be subject to the kind of monitoring and accountability that is required from national governments under the UN process. They have put forward a draft text which, if accepted, would mean such voluntary commitments were made in line with UN standards, and could therefore be included in the national greenhouse gas inventories required from countries.
Also on 11 November Virginia became the latest US state to commit to action on climate change, becoming a member of the Under2 Coalition of leading sub-national governments committed to reducing their greenhouse gas emissions and meeting the Paris Agreement. The Under2Coalition brings together signatories and endorsers from across 39 countries to fight climate change and support the Paris Climate Agreement’s goal of keeping global warming below 2°C. It now represents over 1.2 billion people and 39% of the global economy ($US29.4 trillion). Virginia became the 11th US state to join the Coalition, alongside California, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Hampshire, New York State, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, and Washington.