Michael Bloomberg delivered the latest America’s Pledge report to the international climate community on Tuesday, at the 25th annual Conference of the Parties (COP) in Madrid, Spain.
After US President Donald Trump announced he would withdraw the US from the landmark Paris Climate Agreement, the former mayor of New York City has worked to ensure that US climate progress continued despite federal inaction.
“While the Trump administration refuses to do the job, America’s Pledge is uniting cities, states, and businesses in the urgent fight against climate change – and we are getting results,” said Bloomberg.
The America’s Pledge initiative was launched in June 2017, and has since released annual reports with the aim of quantifying and communicating the climate progress of nearly 4,000 cities, states, and businesses who are committed to the Paris goals.
Additionally, Bloomberg has worked to maintain America’s climate leadership position globally by committing $10 million to date to fill the funding gap to the United Nations Climate Change Secretariat, and ensuring the US is represented at international climate conferences through US Climate Action Pavilions.
On Tuesday, Michael Bloomberg was joined by a coalition of leading domestic and international climate voices, including UN Climate Change Executive Secretary Patricia Espinosa, and UN Special Envoy for Climate Action and Finance Mark Carney, to discuss the report.
Released publicly on December 9, 2019, the America’s Pledge report projects two emissions reductions scenarios based on city, state, business, and federal adoption of ambitious climate action policies:
- Bottom-Up: The first scenario involves a coalition of states, cities, and businesses deploying aggressive best-practice climate policies informed by the ongoing action of current climate leaders. This is projected to reduce emissions 37 per cent below 2005 levels by 2030.
- All-In: The second scenario involves a reengaged federal government layering aggressive, post-2020 climate action onto the bottom-up efforts outlined in scenario one. This would put the U.S. on track to reduce emissions 49 per cent below 2005 levels by 2030, in line with the Paris Agreement, and lay the foundation for a net-zero emissions economy by 2050.
UN Climate Change Executive Secretary Patricia Espinosa said “Bottom-up climate action is not only growing in scale and ambition, but delivering substantial progress toward our global goals.”
Mark Carney, Governor of the Bank of England and newly appointed UN Special Envoy for Climate credits Michael Bloomberg with galvanizing efforts to tackle climate change at every level of government as well as a number of private companies across the globe.
“In the financial sector, his pathbreaking initiative on climate disclosure is creating the platform to make sustainable finance mainstream,” said Carney. “Now we must build on these foundations to ensure a just transition to a net zero carbon economy.”
Former California Governor Jerry Brown said “With our president AWOL and the US Senate mired in denial, many businesses and local governments have acted decisively to reduce carbon emissions.” And as the US election nears, Brown added “to save our civilization, America needs a new President, a new Senate and a profound sense of urgency.”
Their remarks were followed by a high-level discussion of the report findings and methodology by America’s Pledge vice-chair Carl Pope and report authors Nate Hultman, director of the Center for Global Sustainability at the University of Maryland (UMD), and Carla Frisch, principal at Rocky Mountain Institute (RMI).
“The momentum we’re seeing on climate action from cities, states, and businesses has never been stronger than it is right now,” said Carl Pope, vice-chair of America’s Pledge. “Our dedicated coalition of bottom-up actors has shown the country and the world the power of collective climate action – and we’re just getting started.”
Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti said “Cities have always been the engines driving the fight against climate change, because our residents can’t afford the costs of inaction and the consequences of delay.”
The report also projects emissions reductions based on the current trajectory of climate action with existing, on-the-books commitments from non-federal actors and without engagement from the federal government.
Existing commitments from the coalition of states, cities, and businesses currently committed to the Paris Agreement would reduce emissions 25 per cent below 2005 levels by 2030, significantly faster progress than the report was able to measure only a year ago.
The strategies outlined in the report are organized around three principles that will empower action at all levels of the economy: 1) accelerate toward 100 per cent clean electricity and fuels; 2) decarbonize energy end-uses in transportation, buildings, and industry; and 3) enhance the carbon storage potential of forests, farms, and coastal wetlands.
These steps leverage high-impact opportunities that are available today, while laying the groundwork for steadily deeper emissions reductions after 2030 in order to achieve a carbon-neutral future.