Picking up the lack: Subnational States’ leadership

Despite Trump’s climate agenda, United States are determined to meet Paris commitments. But how are they going to do it?
In response to the White House’s step back, a new actor stepped in: the U.S. Climate Alliance, a bipartisan coalition of 15 governors of the United States created in June 2017 and committed to:
– Implement policies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by at least 26-28 percent below 2005 levels by 2025;- Report progress to the global community by taking part in international negotiations;- Adopt policies to promote clean energy and reduce carbon pollution at the state and federal level.

Yesterday a number of U.S. governors, including Jerry Brown (California), J. Inslee (Washington), K. Brown (Oregon), T. McAuliffe (Virginia), A. Schwarzenegger (former governor of California) met in the Bonn Zone to present their ideas, and we took the chance to follow their program.

“It does not matter if you are Republican or Democrat, we all march in the same direction. It is not a political issue, it is a people issue” said Schwarzenegger, congratulating J. Brown, his successor from the opposite political party.
The underlying idea is that, despite the negative approach of the central Government, the federate States still have wide regulatory independence and power, which will be directed to pursue climatic actions consistent with the international trend.

As Jerry Brown said, “Trump is just a small part of the problem, no matter what he does, we have to do our part”.
A concrete example of the propulsive role of these subnational actors was the announcement of an innovative agreement between Canada, Mexico and the U.S. Climate Alliance for the creation of the “North American Climate Leadership Dialogue”, which demonstrates a joint commitment to combat climate change and to support clean growth across North America. Indeed, speakers clearly underlined that climate change is also an economic opportunity: development cannot be reached without environmental protection and vice versa. This also explains the commitment to provide financial support to and to share expertise with less developed communities, because “pollution knows no boundaries,” as recalled by C. Ballard, Minister of the Environment of Ontario.

Thus, it seems that there are alternative ways that can be pursued and that they are explored with great determination and enthusiasm, under the slogan “Trump can’t stop us”. In fact, this was not the only motto claimed during the day. An official U.S. side event dedicated to fossil fuels and nuclear energy was convened the same afternoon. The event was interrupted by a demonstration organised by young and indigenous people together to claim the ineffectiveness of US climate policies.
Will the United States really fail to keep up?

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