Terming US President Donald Trump’s decision to withdraw from the Paris Agreement as “immoral” and “reckless”, New York’s top leadership said it will honour the commitments of the climate pact through executive orders.
In response to Trump’s decision, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, California Governor Edmund Brown Jr and Washington State Governor Jay Inslee announced the formation of the ‘United States Climate Alliance’, a coalition that will convene US states committed to upholding the Paris Climate Agreement and taking aggressive action on climate change.
“The White House’s reckless decision to withdraw from the Paris Climate Agreement has devastating repercussions not only for the United States, but for our planet. This administration is abdicating its leadership and taking a backseat to other countries in the global fight against climate change,” Cuomo said in a statement here yesterday.
He added that New York State is committed to meeting the standards set forth in the Paris Accord regardless of Washington’s “irresponsible” actions.
“We will not ignore the science and reality of climate change which is why I am also signing an Executive Order confirming New York’s leadership role in protecting our citizens, our environment, and our planet,” Cuomo said.
The US Climate Alliance will also act as a forum to sustain and strengthen existing climate programs, promote the sharing of information and best practices, and implement new programs to reduce carbon emissions from all sectors of the economy.
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said Trump can turn his back on the world, but the world cannot ignore the very real threat of climate change.
“This decision is an immoral assault on the public health, safety and security of everyone on this planet,” he said adding that New Yorkers are already experiencing hotter summers, more powerful storms and rising seas, which disproportionately affect already vulnerable communities.
“On behalf of the people of New York City, and alongside mayors across the country, I am committing to honour the goals of the Paris agreement with an executive order in the coming days, so our city can remain a home for generations to come,” de Blasio said.
The state governors said New York, California, and Washington, representing over one-fifth of US Gross Domestic Product, are committed to achieve the US goal of reducing emissions to 26-28 percent from 2005 levels and meeting or exceeding the targets of the federal Clean Power Plan.
“The President has already said climate change is a hoax, which is the exact opposite of virtually all scientific and worldwide opinion,” Brown said. He asserted that fighting reality is not a good strategy, either for America or for any other country.
Inslee said Trump’s announcement leaves the full responsibility of climate action on states and cities throughout the nation.
“While the president’s actions are a shameful rebuke to the work needed to protect our planet for our children and grandchildren, states have been and will continue to step up,” Inslee added.
Together, New York, California, and Washington represent approximately 68 million people – nearly one-in-five Americans – and the states account for at least 10 per cent of greenhouse gas emissions in the United States.