Climate action from US states, businesses “more important than ever” under Trump Presidency

Reading time: 4 minutes
9 November 2016

NEW YORK: With the election of Donald Trump as its 45th President, the US faces new challenges in meeting its national climate goals. But US states and businesses are expected to continue reducing their greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions under the new Trump Administration. 

President-elect Trump has opposed US action to address climate change throughout his campaign, calling climate change “a hoax” and promising to “cancel the Paris Agreement” and “rescind President Obama’s Climate Action Plan.”  While Trump has said that he supports all forms of energy, including renewables, he made reviving the US fossil fuel industry a hallmark of his campaign. 

Amy Davidsen, Executive Director, The Climate Group North America, said: “While the path to net-zero emissions may be more difficult under the new Trump Administration, it is not foreclosed. A majority of US states and businesses believe that reducing emissions is the best way forward for our economy and climate, and their efforts will be more important now than ever.”

To date, at least 75 US businesses, states, and cities have committed to reduce emissions by 80% or to secure 100% of their electricity from renewable sources, and more have committed to reduction targets in line with climate science. In addition, 154 companies in all 50 states (and employing nearly 11 million people) have signed the American Business Act on Climate Pledge, expressing their support for US climate action and the Paris Agreement.

These, and many other, US businesses and subnational governments are expected to continue their efforts to cut emissions, regardless of a lack of leadership at the national level. 

For example, when the centerpiece of President Obama’s clean energy policy, the Clean Power Plan, which aims to reduce carbon dioxide emissions from power plants by 32% below 2005 levels by 2030, was put on hold by the Supreme Court in February, nearly half of all US states stated their intent to continue decarbonization planning, despite the lack of a mandate from the federal level.

At the time, Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton said: "We shouldn't need a federal edict to understand how vital it is that we keep doing everything in our collective powers to reduce harmful greenhouse gas emissions, improve energy efficiency, and advance Minnesota’s clean energy economy.”

“Conditions for the sustained growth of US clean energy remain strong, despite the contrarian view of the incoming White House administration,” Davidsen continued.  “US states and businesses will not turn their backs on this momentum, and with continued leadership, there is a lot we can – and will - accomplish over the next four years.”

by Evan Juska

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