Image: Former New York Mayor and U.N. Special Envoy for Cities and Climate Change Michael Bloomberg speaks during the C40 Cities Women4Climate event in New York City, U.S., March 15, 2017. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid
By Valerie Volcovici
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg submitted a statement to the United Nations on Monday that over 1,000 U.S. governors, mayors, businesses, universities and others will continue to meet the goals of the Paris climate agreement abandoned by President Donald Trump last week.
Bloomberg, who is the U.N. Secretary-General’s special envoy for Cities and Climate Change, submitted the “We Are Still In” declaration to U.N. Secretary General Antonio Guterres and the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) Executive Secretary Patricia Espinosa.
He also launched a process to work with local governments and non-state entities to formally quantify the combined – and overlapping – emissions reduction pledges, which will be known as “America’s Pledge,” and submit the report to the United Nations.
“Today, on behalf of an unprecedented collection of U.S. cities, states, businesses and other organizations, I am communicating to the United Nations and the global community that American society remains committed to achieving the emission reductions we pledged to make in Paris in 2015,” Bloomberg said in a statement.
Signatories to the new initiative include 13 Democratic and Republican governors, 19 state attorneys general, over 200 mayors, and CEOs of Fortune 500 companies and small businesses.
Trump on Thursday pulled the United States from the landmark 2015 agreement designed to fight climate change, fulfilling a major campaign pledge despite entreaties from U.S. allies and corporate leaders.
Although the formal process to withdraw from the Paris agreement takes four years, Trump said the United States will not honor the pledge the Obama administration submitted, known as the nationally determined contribution to reduce greenhouse gas emissions 26-28 percent below 2005 levels by the year 2025.
To fill the void, “America’s Pledge” will be submitted to the UNFCCC as a “Societal NDC.”
“The UNFCCC welcomes the determination and commitment from such a wealth and array of cities, states, businesses and other groups in the United States to fast forward climate action and emissions reductions in support of the Paris Climate Change Agreement,” said Espinosa.
The coalition will align a number of different efforts to show U.S. support for the Paris agreement, including a commitment of over 260 corporations including Kellogg , Pepsi Co. and Walmart to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions in line with the latest science.
Thirteen governors have also pledged to continue to honor the Paris pledges.
“It will be up to the American people to step forward-and in Virginia we are doing just that,” said Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe.
(Reporting By Valerie Volcovici; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama)
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