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Glendale will join other cities in climate change initiative

15 July 2017, 11:07 | Taylor George

The governor of California and Michael Bloomberg launched a new plan to fight climate change — with or without Trump

Defying Trump, Jerry Brown to showcase American climate change efforts

"In the USA, emission levels are determined far more by cities, states, and businesses than they are by our federal government - and each of these groups is taking action because it's in their own best interest", said Michael Bloomberg, the United Nations Secretary-General's Special Envoy for Cities and Climate Change.

The country had committed to reducing its greenhouse-gas emissions by 26 to 28 per cent by 2025, compared with 2005 levels.

Governor Jerry Brown of California and former mayor of New York City Michael Bloomberg announced "America's Pledge" on Wednesday, an initiative aimed at keeping greenhouse gas emissions from USA cities, states, and businesses consistent with the goals outlined in the Paris climate agreement.

While launching a website and uniting a dozen-plus USA territories are relatively small achievements, the rhetoric is likely to play big across Long Island, where funding for and commercialization of "clean energy" technologies have become socioeconomic lifelines - and environmentalists, economists and other observers lambasted Trump's decision to pull out of the Paris Agreement.

"In the USA, emission levels are determined far more by cities, states, and businesses than they are by our federal government-and each of these groups is taking action because it's in their own best interest", said Bloomberg, the United Nations Secretary-General's Special Envoy for Cities and Climate Change, in a statement. "We're already halfway there".

According to Christine Powers, a program supervisor with the city, there is no formal way for cities to sign onto the United Nations climate accord, but mayors who join the Climate Action Agenda adopt the "spirit and the goals" of the Paris Agreement.

In 2015, during the lead-up to the Paris conference on climate change, the US submitted its "Nationally Determined Contribution" committing to reduce emissions 26-28% against 2005 levels by 2025.

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Since peaking in 2007, USA energy-related carbon emissions are down roughly 14 percent, while Germany, which sees itself as the world leader in climate change, had its carbon emissions fall 7 percent during the same period.

However, U.S. President Donald Trump announced in early June his decision to withdraw from the agreement. The two have commissioned the Rocky Mountain Institute and the World Resources Institute to lead an analytical effort supporting the initiative, and have planned to compile and showcase existing climate commitments of USA subnational and non-state actors at COP23 scheduled for November in Bonn, Germany.

Since then, a number of U.S. states, cities, businesses, and colleges and universities have reaffirmed their support for the Paris Agreement through collaborations including the "We Are Still In" declaration, the Climate Mayors coalition of cities and the U.S. Climate Alliance group of states.

Outside experts with the World Resources Institute and the Rocky Mountain Institute, two USA -based non-profits, have been retained to conduct the study on current and projected emissions of "America's Pledge" affiliates.

The project is expected to produce a report on climate-related efforts and a plan for how cities and businesses can drive down green house gas emissions.

Michael Bloomberg now serves as the United Nations Secretary-General's Special Envoy for Cities and Climate Change. Instead, the cities, states, and businesses - known in official United Nations parlance as "non-party stakeholders" - will join a registry known as the Non-State Actor Zone for Climate Action (NAZCA).

"Although the focus right now is on the states and cities in the United States following the announcement by the new administration, the fact is that this is part of a movement of sub-national governments around the world to contribute to the global climate agenda", Nuttall said.



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