Despite President Trump‘s decision to withdraw from the Paris climate accord, the United States hasn’t completely abandoned the landmark international agreement.

More than 400 city leaders have joined the Climate Mayors association, and 25 states and territories have joined the U.S. Climate Alliance (California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Montana, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Puerto Rico, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, Wisconsin). Both organizations have vowed to uphold the country’s Paris pledge.

Many city, county, state and tribal governments have also signed the We’re Still In declaration, which reiterates support for the accord. So have 2,200 businesses and investors, 350 universities and 200 faith groups.

Together, these players account for almost 60% of the U.S. economy, half the country’s population, and 37% of its greenhouse gas emission.

Existing commitments by sub-national actors could achieve two-thirds of the emissions reductions called for in the U.S.’s Paris pledge. Broader participation and additional measures, like rapid retirement of coal-fired power plants, could bring that number close to 90%. Under Obama, the U.S. had promised to get emissions 26% to 28% below 2005 levels by 2025. The country is already almost halfway there, although emissions rose in 2018 for the first time in three years. To tackle the other half, all eyes are now on cities, states and businesses.

Cities are often touted as climate leaders, and many have set aggressive climate goals in recent years. Several have committed to getting all of their energy from renewable sources — a target Los Angeles aims to achieve by 2050.

The Climate Mayors group is making bulk purchases of electric vehicles for city fleets. Many communities are also passing ordinances to improve the energy efficiency of buildings and to meet heating, cooling and cooking needs with clean electricity instead of fossil fuels. In July, Berkeley became the first U.S. city to ban natural gas in new construction.

Together, concerted climate action across all U.S. cities could achieve 36% of the emissions reductions needed to fulfill the country’s Paris pledge.

To date, 37 states and four territories (Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin, Washington, D.C., Guam, Northern Mariana Islands, Puerto Rico, U.S. Virgin Islands) have adopted some kind of renewable energy target, a strategy that has been very effective at driving down emissions.

California’s pledge to provide 100% renewable energy by 2045 is one of the most ambitious. New York recently upped the ante with a law that requires it to source only clean energy by 2040, and for the state to achieve “net zero” greenhouse emissions by 2050.

States can provide incentives for purchasing electric vehicles and expand charging networks. And they have wide authority to promote climate action across communities and industries, such as by setting strict building codes and establishing carbon prices through measures like California’s cap-and-trade program.

According to the U.S. Climate Alliance, member states have already reduced emissions by 14% relative to 2005 levels.

More than 1000 businesses have joined the We Mean Business coalition, which advocates for a carbon-free economy. Companies can work toward that goal by purchasing renewable power, cleaning up their supply chains, and creating innovative technologies to reduce emissions.

Ultimately, dealing with climate change is going to require a lot of money, and some will have to come from federal coffers. Cities and states already need help financing their climate goals and managing the growing risks of climate-fueled disasters like wildfires and floods. And many agree on the need to dramatically increase funding to develop new energy technologies that will transform society. In the past, such investments helped make renewable energy sources like solar power some of the cheapest on the market. Now it’s needed to advance things like greener planes and aviation fuels.

The lack of a strong “national narrative” impedes the country’s reduction of emissions in ways that spark innovation and economic opportunity.

At the moment, there is not just a leadership void at the federal level, but a concerted effort to block state actions that would reduce emissions. For instance, Washington is now challenging California’s authority to set stringent fuel economy standards for cars and trucks. Even so, everyone agrees that climate efforts by cities, states and businesses are important — and will be necessary regardless of what happens at the national level.

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