States’ rebellion against Trump climate policies gains momentum

Four months ago, on the day President Donald Trump announced he was pulling the United States out of the Paris Climate Agreement, Gov. Jerry Brown of California, Gov. Andrew Cuomo of New York and Gov. Jay Inslee of Washington announced their states would team up to meet the target anyway.

Since then, what started as a contrarian statement by three Democratic leaders has grown into a green rebellion. The coalition now numbers 14 states and Puerto Rico — North Carolina joined last week — and includes several states with Republican governors.

The U.S. Climate Alliance, as the group is calling itself, released a report last week showing that through expanding solar power, wind energy, incentives for electric cars, building efficiency standards and other local efforts, the participating states cut greenhouse gas emissions 15 percent between 2005 and 2015, compared with 10 percent for the rest of the U.S. They are already on track to meet the Paris target of a 26 percent reduction by 2025.

Meanwhile, economic output in those states grew by 14 percent from 2005 to 2015, compared with 12 percent for the rest of the country. The group is made up of states that have 107 million residents — 36 percent of the U.S. population — and a $7 trillion dollar combined economy, enough to be the world’s third largest country.

“Together, we are a political and economic force,” Brown said in New York last week during a whirlwind visit to the United Nations, Yale University and Canada to push more climate agreements in opposition to Trump’s approach. “We will drive the change that will get us to the climate goals that we have to reach.”

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