Fighting the Good Fight: the Potential Impact of State and City Pledges to Uphold the Paris Climate Agreement

ParisClimate

I managed to go to sleep last night without reading the news, which means I woke up to find my newsfeeds filled with panicked responses to what many of us, myself included, know to be the disastrous decision by the President of the United States, Donald J. Trump, to withdraw the United States from the Paris Climate Agreement.

I won’t even begin to list the ways in which this is a fundamentally flawed decision, as there are others smarter and more eloquent than I who have already done no. Needless to say, this is not good for the earth, and funnily enough the U.S. is still located on this planet, with no relocation plans in the foreseeable future. But, screaming out the negative impacts this has on the environment clearly falls on deaf ears, as the climate change deniers and/or doomsday seekers plainly don’t get it.

What DO they understand? Seemingly the only way to reach many of the people who support this president and his policies is through their wallets, whether we speak of struggling lower-middle class workers of the American heartland, or a certain breed of soulless industrialist and politicans.

So how do we get through to these people? How do we turn the tide? Well, not-so- coincidentally the withdrawal of the U.S. from the Paris Climate Agreement turns out to also be potentially disastrous to American economic interests both home and abroad. But remaining in the Paris Agreement is an opportunity for economic growth and political leadership. So, I believe that the states that are creating the U.S. Climate Alliance (currently CA, NY, and WA) and the #ClimateMayors’ cities who have signed a pact to uphold the commitments of the Paris Agreement have offered us a way forward: namely, these states and cities need to get our business. They need to get our jobs and our income. There’s already a list of companies that agree leaving the Paris Agreement is a bad call, including Apple, Facebook, Google, Microsoft, Tesla, Disney, General Electric, Goldman Sachs, Shell, Exxon Mobil, and Cargill. (https://www.nytimes.com/2017/06/01/business/climate-change-tesla-corporations-paris-accord.html)

The Republican Party claims that they are the Party of “States Rights.” Well, fine then. Lets show them what that really means. 

We need to pressure these employers, and others, to move their businesses, offices and factories to these states and metropolitan areas, and we need to pressure more states and cities to sign these pacts, and more companies to stand with them.

The math is in our favor: I ran some numbers, and the three states that are currently backing the Paris Agreement through the framework of the newly formed U.S. Climate Alliance represent over 20% of the U.S. population and over 25% of the U.S. GDP. The Metropolitan Areas of the #ClimateMayors’ cities represent 34% of the U.S. population and nearly 40% of the national GDP. And if you combine the two (so, add the population and product of the signatory states, and then the metropolitan areas that are not already counted within those states) you get 42.5% of the U.S. Population and nearly 50% of our GDP!!

Here’s a link to the GoogleDocs Spreadsheet with my calculations: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1I-ah_rQ6PcHkk1qqTaql_dw24QoFwaOP0dFeUqhf_cA/edit?usp=sharing

These are all based on the announced membership of the U.S. Climate Alliance and the signatories of the #ClimateMayors’ Open Letter (https://medium.com/@ClimateMayors/climate-mayors-commit-to-adopt-honor-and-uphold-paris-climate-agreement-goals-ba566e260097). If more states or cities join I will update the spreadsheet – please comment if you hear of any new members or any other corporations that have announced their backing of the Paris Climate Agreement! And take and share this data as you see fit.

 

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