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America's Pledge commits climate action

IANS  |  Bonn 

In a first, California Governor Edmund G. Brown and United Nations Secretary-General's Special Envoy for Cities and Climate Change Michael R. released the America's Pledge report on Saturday at the UN climate change conference in this German city.

The report is the first communication to the international community specifically addressing the scope and scale of non-federal climate action in the US following the Trump administration's decision to withdraw from the 2015 Paris Climate Agreement.

It captures and quantifies the outpouring of public support for the agreement since the withdrawal announcement, finding that cities, states and businesses representing more than half the US economy and population have declared their support for the Paris Agreement.

The report comprises more than 2,300 signatories to the "We Are Still In" declaration.

If these non-federal actors were a country, their economy would be the third largest in the world, bigger than all but two national parties to the Paris Agreement.

In addition, the report finds that a total of 20 US states, 110 cities, and over 1,400 businesses with US operations representing $25 trillion in market capitalisation and nearly one gigatons of GHG emissions per year have adopted quantified emissions reduction targets.

The most ambitious of these targets, such as those adopted by California, mirror the nationally determined contributions (NDCs) of national governments.

"The group of American cities, states, and businesses who remain committed to the Paris Agreement represents a bigger economy than any nation outside the US and China," an official statement quoting said.

"Together, they are helping deliver on the promise of the agreement and ensuring the US remains a global leader in the fight against climate change. In Paris, the US pledged to measure and report our progress reducing emissions alongside every other nation."

The report was released at an event featuring UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) Executive Secretary Patricia Espinosa and Fijian President Frank Bainimarama, who is chairing the COP-23, besides others.

"California strongly supports the United Nations' unstoppable move to decarbonise the world economy," said California Governor and COP 23 Special Advisor for States and Regions Brown.

"We join with states and cities across America and around the world that will continue aggressive and creative action to curb greenhouse gas emissions."

"If the challenge of climate change is to be solved and the opportunities of a low carbon transition harvested we need all sectors of society in all nations fully on board," Espinosa said in a statement.

The Fijian Prime Minister said: "To achieve the goals of the Paris Agreement, we are helping to build a grand coalition to accelerate climate action across all nations and at every level of society."

The America's Pledge report examines current and potential future opportunities for non-federal actors in the US to deepen and strengthen their role in meeting the US commitment under the Paris Agreement to reduce emissions by 26-28 per cent below 2005 levels by 2025.

The 23rd annual UN climate change talks of the parties or COP23, coming just two years after the landmark adoption of the Paris Climate Change Agreement, will also further fuel momentum among cities, states, regions, territories, business and civil society in support of national climate action plans.

In June, US President Donald Trump announced his administration's intention to withdraw from the Paris Agreement, throwing into doubt its role at UN climate talks and related bodies like the Green Climate Fund.

At COP23, attention will turn to whether the US and its allies will continue to advance an agenda focused mainly on mitigation, carbon markets and transparency of action, while neglecting or foot-dragging on other key issues such as adaptation, loss and damage, finance, technology transfer, capacity building, transparency of support and compliance.



(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Sat, November 11 2017. 17:48 IST