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US Cities, States, Businesses Vow to Still Measure Greenhouse Gas Emissions


FILE - California Gov. Jerry Brown discusses a bill with budget analyst Chris Ferguson, right, in Sacramento, California, July 7, 2017. Brown and legislative leaders released a plan Monday to extend through 2030 California's cap-and-trade program, a key piece of the state's quest to fight climate change by drastically reducing emissions from greenhouse gases.

U.S. cities and states will work with experts to measure their progress toward meeting Paris climate agreement goals, representatives said Wednesday, sidestepping President Donald Trump's decision to pull the country out of the global pact.

The initiative by 227 cities and counties, nine states and more than 1,500 businesses, including Fortune 500 companies, was announced in a statement by California Governor Jerry Brown and Michael Bloomberg, a former New York mayor.

"Today we're sending a clear message to the world that America's states, cities and businesses are moving forward with our country's commitments under the Paris Agreement — with or without Washington," Brown said in a statement.

"America's Pledge," as the plan has been dubbed, came a month after the White House announced it was leaving the 2015 Paris accord, agreed to by nearly 200 countries, to curb climate-warming greenhouse gas emissions.

Collective effort

That decision was met with dismay across the world, but it prompted state governors and city mayors to say they would collectively show their country still remained committed to cutting emissions that scientists blame for global warming.

In a growing movement, cities, states and companies have since endorsed various statements promising to step up efforts to slow climate change.

FILE - Michael Bloomberg, the U.N. Special Envoy for Cities and Climate Change, speaks at the C40 Mayors Summit at a hotel in Mexico City, Mexico, Dec. 1, 2016. Last month, in an effort to fill a climate leadership void, Bloomberg committed $200 million to support city initiatives, including projects to combat global warming through a grant program called the American Cities Initiative.
FILE - Michael Bloomberg, the U.N. Special Envoy for Cities and Climate Change, speaks at the C40 Mayors Summit at a hotel in Mexico City, Mexico, Dec. 1, 2016. Last month, in an effort to fill a climate leadership void, Bloomberg committed $200 million to support city initiatives, including projects to combat global warming through a grant program called the American Cities Initiative.

"The American government may have pulled out of the Paris Agreement, but American society remains committed to it — and we will redouble our efforts to achieve its goals," said Bloomberg in a statement.

Outside experts with the World Resources Institute and the Rocky Mountain Institute, two U.S.-based nonprofits, have been retained to conduct the study on current and projected emissions of "America's Pledge" affiliates.

The affiliates hope to present findings to the United Nations at a Bonn, Germany, climate meeting in November.

Under the Paris deal, former President Barack Obama's administration had vowed to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 26 percent to 28 percent below 2005 levels by 2025.

But in abandoning the accord, Trump said the federal government would not honor those pledges, which were nonbinding.

Bloomberg commitment

Still, last month in an effort to fill a climate leadership void, Bloomberg, a U.N. envoy on cities and climate change, committed $200 million to support city initiatives, including projects to combat global warming through a grant program called the American Cities Initiative.

Bloomberg Philanthropies has also committed to separately fund America's Pledge, Antha Williams, a spokeswoman for the group, told the Thomson Reuters Foundation in a phone interview.

In a statement, U.N. chief António Guterres welcomed the plan to assess how U.S. cities, states and others are contributing to slashing global greenhouse gas emissions.

"This is demonstrably not an issue that can be addressed by national governments alone," he said.

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