Press Release

America’s Pledge Outlines Bottom-Up Opportunity Agenda for U.S. State, City and Business Action on Climate

Roadmap provides ten-part opportunity agenda for bottom-up climate policies and programs to help deliver America’s Pledge under the Paris Agreement on climate change

New York – Today, the America’s Pledge initiative released its Opportunity Agenda, a road map for bottom-up action by businesses, cities and states across ten sectors within which collaborative strategies can significantly reduce U.S. carbon emissions in the near term, in the absence of federal government policy.

America’s Pledge under the 2015 Paris Agreement on climate change called for reductions in U.S. GHG emissions by 26-28% against a 2005 baseline by 2025. So far the US has reduced its emissions by 12%, leaving 14-16% to be achieved over the next eight years.  By contrast, the combined emissions from these sectors of the economy account for 70% of US carbon dioxide or equivalent greenhouse gas emissions, leaving robust untapped potential for real-economy, bottom up climate action to close the gap. 

“Around the world, bottom-up climate action is making significant, tangible progress towards a global, low-carbon future,” said UN Climate Change Executive Secretary Patricia Espinosa. “This is especially true at the local and regional levels because cities, states, and businesses recognize the importance of enacting climate-friendly initiatives. This initiative will strengthen climate action and act as an example to other actors globally on what can and should be done to achieve our global the Paris Agreement’s climate goals.”

Co-chaired by former New York City Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg and California Governor Edmund G. “Jerry” Brown, Jr., the America’s Pledge initiative was formed in response to President Trump’s announced intent to withdraw from the Paris Agreement on climate change. It is committed to quantifying and reporting on how the actions of ambitious U.S. cities, states and businesses can compensate for federal inaction by addressing GHG emissions through high-impact policies and action in key sectors.

“While the federal government ignores the existential threat of climate change, people across America are stepping up to drive down greenhouse gas emissions,” said Governor Brown. “This is profoundly important.”

The ten high-impact opportunities outlined in the Opportunity Agenda are:

  1. Doubling down on renewable energy
  2. Accelerating retirement of coal power
  3. Retrofitting buildings for energy efficiency
  4. Electrifying building energy use
  5. Accelerating electric vehicle adoption
  6. Phasing out super-polluting hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs)
  7. Preventing methane leaks at the wellhead
  8. Reducing methane leaks in cities
  9. Reducing land sector carbon emissions and increasing terrestrial sequestration
  10. Establishing and expanding state and regional carbon markets

“Even as Washington has abdicated its role as a climate leader, American cities, states, businesses, and others are taking concrete actions that reduce emissions and benefit our health, economy, and environment,” said Bloomberg. “The America’s Pledge Opportunity Agenda is designed to help each of these groups expand their ambitions and accelerate their progress. And it shows the world that the American people remain committed to fulfilling our commitments under the Paris Agreement.”

Bottom-up climate progress has already taken the United States almost half way to its Paris pledge, and the pace of such progress continues to accelerate. Since the first anniversary of President Trump’s announcement of withdrawal from the Paris Agreement—just six weeks ago—we have seen remarkable progress, including: the announced retirements of two coal-fired power plants, including one of Michigan’s most polluting plants; a planned $25 million solar project in Albuquerque, NM, to increase the city’s renewable consumption from 3% to 25% by this September; new legislation in New Jersey requiring utilities to procure 50% clean energy by 2030, and similar new policies in Virginia doubling renewable energy and tripling energy efficiency investments.

Today’s Opportunity Agenda previews a more complete analysis to be released in September at the Global Climate Action Summit by America’s Pledge Co-Chairs Bloomberg and Brown. Each of the ten opportunity areas highlighted today will be analyzed in the 2018 U.S. Report on Bottom Up Climate Action, which will estimate the emissions reductions associated with specific, ambitious policies and actions that can be taken by U.S. cities, states and businesses in the near-term, without relying on the federal government. This America’s Pledge report will compare the impact of these measures to the U.S. Nationally Determined Contribution under the Paris Agreement, which called for a reduction of emissions of at least 26 percent below 2005 levels by the year 2025.

To read the full America’s Pledge Opportunity Agenda, please click here.