US cities, states, American governors, mayors and companies commit to Paris climate accord

French President Emmanuel Macron (L) welcomes former mayor of New York City Michael Bloomberg (C) and Paris mayor Anne Hidalgo prior to their meeting at the Elysee Palace in Paris, on June 2, 2017. (AFP photo)
A group of American governors, mayors and companies have expressed support for the Paris Climate Agreement despite US President Donald Trump's decision to withdraw the US from the global accord to fight climate change.
The group, which includes three governors, 30 mayors, more than 100 businesses and more than 80 university presidents, is negotiating with the UN to have its submission accepted alongside contributions to the Paris climate deal by other countries.
It was unclear, however, how the unnamed group would have its submission accepted by the United Nations. There is currently no formal mechanism for entities that were not nations to be full parties to the Paris climate accord.
Former New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg, who is coordinating the climate effort, has promised to allocate $15 million to support the Paris agreement.
“We’re going to do everything America would have done if it had stayed committed,” Bloomberg said in an interview with The New York Times.
The action was a swift rebuttal to Trump, who has defended his widely criticized decision. Speaking at a ceremony in the White House Rose Garden on Thursday, Trump said he was withdrawing the US from the Paris Climate Agreement, a move that would have profound effects on the planet and deepen a rift with American allies.
Yet, the weight of the US federal government will not be replaced by actions of governors and mayors, especially since 33 states are run by Republican governors and Republican-dominated legislatures that are reluctant to drive up energy costs to speed up a transition from fossil fuels.
    However, states and cities can reduce emissions in many ways, including negotiating contracts with local utilities to supply greater amounts of renewable energy.
    In a draft letter to António Guterres, the UN secretary-general, Bloomberg said executive branch of the US government does not determine many aspects of whether and how the United States takes action on climate change.
    Bloomberg, a United Nations envoy on climate, has been among the critics of Trump’s climate and energy policies.
    On Thursday, Washington state Governor Jay Inslee, New York state Governor Andrew Cuomo and California Governor Jerry Brown, all Democrats, said they were signing on to the effort.
    Mayors of cities including New York City, Los Angeles, Atlanta and Salt Lake City and Pittsburgh have signed on. During his speech announcing the withdrawal, Trump said he was elected to represent the citizens of Pittsburgh, not of Paris.
    Hewlett-Packard, Mars and dozens of other US companies have also signed on.
    Presidents of 82 universities, including Emory & Henry College, Brandeis and Wesleyan are also participating, the organizers said.
    The US president’s decision to withdraw from the Paris climate accord has drawn angry reactions from inside and outside the United States.

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