The response to Trump’s withdrawal of the U.S. from the Paris Agreement drew protest from U.S. states, cities, businesses, universities, and other Civil Society groups. A group co-chaired by former Mayor Bloomberg and Governor Brown released a report that outlines the
Total U.S. emissions fell from over 6,500 Mt CO in 2005 to approximately 5,700 Mt CO in 2016. To achieve The Paris Agreement targets, the United States should lower emissions by more than 1,000 Mt CO.
The report lists ten strategies for the U.S. to achieve their target:
- Double down on renewable energy targets.
- Accelerate the retirement of coal power.
- Encourage residential and commercial building efficiency retrofits.
- Electrify building energy use.
- Accelerate electric vehicle adoption.
- Phase down super-polluting hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs).
- Stop methane leaks at the wellhead.
- Reduce methane leaks in cities.
- Develop regional strategies for carbon sequestration on natural and working lands.
- Form state coalitions for carbon pricing.
The report includes a map that identifies what organizations in the U.S. signed the pledge to honor the Paris Agreement.
At the current trajectory, the U.S. will see a 17% reduction in carbon emissions during the period of 2005-2025. This would be about 7-9% shot of meeting the Paris Agreement. The report lists ways to accelerate reductions.
The bulk of the report identifies large constituencies across public, private, and government sectors and provides case studies of successful initiatives in lowering emissions. Additionally, the report expands on the strategies listed above and provide specific reduction targets for each key sector that would position America to meet the Paris Agreement.
Some projects highlighted are:
- Arkansas: The State requires electric and natural gas utilities to propose and administer energy efficiency programs.
- Washington, D.C.: Washington D.C. adopted the Clean and Affordable Energy Act of 2008 requiring owners of commercial and multifamily buildings over 50,000 sq. ft. to benchmark their energy use annually and publicly share the data.
- Portland, Oregon: Requires any Transportation Planning to be linked with the reducing automobile reliance.
- New York’s Green Bank: Capitalized with 1 Billion USD, the Bank provides financing to large-scale projects and developers to implement renewables or carbon reduction in their projects.
Implications for the Local
Aside from being a primary example of America’s vast decentralized decision-making process,
- Inspiring through Demonstration: momentum will grow as economic, health, and environmental benefits of carbon reduction are realized by economic actors.
- Deploying Real Solutions to Change the World Today: reduction continues despite disengagement at the national level.
- Building the groundwork for Future Progress: bottom-up efforts can lead to significant reductions. However, organizations must significantly collaborate with one another to achieve progress in addition to current reductions.