When President Donald Trump decided to pull out of the Paris Accord, he faced criticism at home and abroad. The agreement, after all, was a historic pledge by countries around the world to work together to reduce carbon emissions to help slow the warming of the planet. Trump, with no rationale other than wanting to undo everything that President Obama did, rejected the agreement and suggested he wanted to renegotiate it. He didn’t understand that the agreement, as written, allowed for different strategies to address the problem of global warming nor did he understand that it is not possible to renegotiate it.
“A grand total of 1,219 governors, mayors, businesses, investors, and colleges and universities from across the U.S. or with significant operations in the U.S., representing the broadest cross section of the American economy yet assembled in pursuit of climate action, today declared their intent to continue to ensure the U.S. remains a global leader in reducing carbon emissions,” the statement read.
What Trump didn’t expect was that governors and mayor around the country would decide to take it upon themselves to honor the agreement. Former New York City mayor and current UN envoy to cities and climate change, Michael Bloomberg, has been working to coordinate the efforts of cities, states, universities and businesses to address the issue. Now that the US has reneged on its obligation, Bloomberg intends to work to fill the gap. On June 5, he issued a statement to the UN entitled “We Are Still In.”
“Together, these leaders are sending a strong signal to the international community and the 194 other parties to the Paris Agreement about the continued commitment of the U.S. to ambitious action on climate change absent leadership at the federal level. In the aggregate, the signatories are delivering concrete emissions reductions that will help meet America’s emissions pledge under the Paris Agreement,” Bloomberg said.
These leaders are not willing to let Trump destroy a global coalition to address one of the biggest problems that humanity is facing. Yesterday, Governor Jerry Brown of California met with Chinese President XI Jin Ping at the end of the Under2 Clean Energy Forum in Beijing. Governors do not typically meet with presidents of foreign nations, but given that Trump has abdicated any leadership position regarding the climate or clean energy, others will have to step in. Interestingly enough, Energy Secretary Rick Perry attended the forum but shied away from the press and avoided making headlines at the conference.
President Trump does not have the capacity to lead. As we move forward under his presidency, there will have to be many Americans who are willing to step up to lead on various issues, some will be easier than others, and, sadly, there will be many bad decisions that we will just have to live with until he and the Republicans are gone from power. Let’s hope that happens by 2018.