BY KATIE - MYGREENPOD, 04 Oct '17

‘US states, cities and businesses have the power to mitigate the consequences of a full Paris pull out’

The impact from the US decision to withdraw from the Paris Climate Agreement could be significantly mitigated thanks to the determined action demonstrated by US states, cities and businesses, according to a new report.

‘Not waiting’ for the government

The findings from the report, States, cities and businesses leading the way: a first look at decentralized climate commitments in the US, authored by NewClimate Institute and The Climate Group and powered by CDP data, show that the US can already meet half of its climate commitments under the Paris Agreement by 2025 if the 342 commitments included in the analysis are implemented.

‘Cities, states and businesses are stepping up and taking action to reduce the threat of catastrophic climate change.’

EDMUND G. BROWN JR
California Governor

This report provides the first steps in helping to quantify the contribution of states, cities and business to reduce US greenhouse gas emissions. As more and more commitments emerge, further analysis will be undertaken within the Initiative for Climate Action Transparency (ICAT), where this work originated.

‘US states, cities and businesses are not waiting for the US federal government to make its position clear on Paris. This new report clearly highlights their unwavering commitment to climate leadership. Importantly, it shows us that climate action is not solely dependent on the actions of national government. US states, cities and businesses have the power to mitigate the consequences of a full Paris pull out.’

HELEN CLARKSON
CEO of The Climate Group

The impact of decentralised action

In the report, the analysis shows that because of their leadership and size, large states such as New York, California and Colorado are making the largest contribution to projected greenhouse gas reductions.

In fact, US states alone deliver more than two-thirds of the total estimated emissions reductions. However, cities are more ambitious (average of 22% GHG reduction between 2015 and 2025) and crucial for the implementation of specific actions. Businesses currently have the steepest targets, aiming for a 25% reduction in the next 10 years.

‘Strikingly, there are more reasons to believe that the calculated impact of states, cities and businesses in the report is currently underestimated rather than overestimated. We only included currently recorded and quantified commitments and the actors represented in this report currently only represent 44% of total US emissions. Much more action is happening that is not yet recorded or formulated in a quantified way.’

PROF. DR NIKLAS HÖHNE
One of the report authors, NewClimate Institute

Global climate initiatives, such as the Under 2 Coalition, for which The Climate Group acts as secretariat, and the organisation’s RE100 campaign have not yet been fully included in the study, although they serve to support individual actors and subnational governments to take on more ambitious climate action, and report on progress.

Other initiatives, including America’s Pledge, are also planning to compile and quantify efforts from US states, cities, businesses and other actors to address climate change in alignment with the Paris Agreement.