Hours after President Donald Trump announced plans to pull the United States from the Paris climate agreement, the governors of New York, Connecticut, California and Washington state announced a coalition to meet the goals of the climate accord.
Trump said Thursday that the 195-country climate deal threatened the U.S. economy and sovereignty.
In a press release announcing the new United States Climate Alliance, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo called Trump’s decision reckless, with “devastating repercussions not only for the United States, but for our planet.”
The alliance, according to the announcement, commits each state to a goal of reducing emissions between 26 and 28 percent from 2005 levels, as the U.S. committed to in the agreement. The plan also calls for each state to meet or exceed the targets of former President Barack Obama’s Clean Power Plan.
The alliance estimates it represents at least 10 percent of greenhouse gas emissions in the United States. They represent 68 million people, and more than one-fifth of the country’s GDP.
Cuomo will co-chair the alliance, along with California Gov. Edmund G. Brown Jr. and Washington Gov. Jay R. Inslee. The group urged other states to join its alliance.
Connecticut Gov. Dannel Malloy said later in the day that he had committed the Nutmeg State to the coalition.
“Connecticut has been a national leader in combatting climate change and we have no plans of slowing down our efforts,” Malloy said. “In the absence of leadership from the White House in addressing climate change, it is incumbent upon the states to take action in order to protect their residents. I am proud to stand with my fellow governors in support of efforts to reverse the harmful effects of global warming and to send a message to the rest of the world that we accept the science of climate change and we will not let the misguided beliefs of a few ruin our planet.”
“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 said.
State level energy policy in New York already calls for emissions reductions beyond what is called for in the Paris agreement. Cuomo has set state targets to reduce emissions 40 percent below 1990 levels by 2030, and 80 percent by 2050.
New York is part of the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI), an alliance of nine states in the Northeast and mid-Atlantic that caps emissions from power generation. In January, Cuomo pledged New York would reduce greenhouse gas emissions 30 percent below 2020 levels by 2030, and encouraged other RGGI states to do the same.
The Clean Energy Standard, approved by the New York Public Service Commission last summer, requires utilities and other energy suppliers to quickly phase in enough renewable power sources to allow the state to receive half its electricity from those new sources by 2030.
That plan has been criticized by business and environmental groups, however, for its inclusion of a billion-dollar subsidy to help ailing nuclear plants upstate.