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What Do You Plan on Telling Your Grandchildren You Did About Climate Change?

Despite the President’s decision to do nothing about Climate Change and to outright reject the Paris Climate Accord, a group of states, cities, businesses and universities have decided to do what they can to fulfill the pledge the federal government has now decided to reject.  As noted in an article in the New York Times, the as yet unnamed group has reached out to the United Nations seeking to carry out the pledges made by the United States as part of the Paris Accord, during the Obama administration.

As noted in a another article, published by NPR, summarizing the Paris Agreement and its goals:

“Representatives from 196 nations made a historic pact on Dec. 12, 2015, in Paris to adopt green energy sources, cut down on climate change emissions and limit the rise of global temperatures — while also cooperating to cope with the impact of unavoidable climate change.

The agreement acknowledges that the threat of climate change is ‘urgent and potentially irreversible,’ and can only be addressed through ‘the widest possible cooperation by all countries’ and ‘deep reductions in global emissions.'”

The Times Article explains, the referenced states, cities, businesses and universities hope to fulfill the promises made by the United States in joining the Paris Accord.

“The unnamed group — which, so far, includes 30 mayors, three governors, more than 80 university presidents and more than 100 businesses — is negotiating with the United Nations to have its submission accepted alongside contributions to the Paris climate deal by other nations.

‘We’re going to do everything America would have done if it had stayed committed,’ Michael Bloomberg, the former New York City mayor who is coordinating the effort, said in an interview.

By redoubling their climate efforts, he said, cities, states and corporations could achieve, or even surpass, the pledge of the administration of former President Barack Obama to reduce America’s planet-warming greenhouse gas emissions 26 percent by 2025, from their levels in 2005.”

The government of the United States appears to be backing away from all things related to protecting the environment. The same day the President announced the withdrawal from the Paris Accord the New York Department of Environmental Conservation released a statement that reads in part:

“Today the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has failed New York by determining that its PCB cleanup of the Upper Hudson River is protective of human health and the environment. We strongly dispute their conclusions and maintain that the significant amount of contamination left in the river threatens both public health and the environment. …Once again, we are calling on EPA to finish the job and refer back to their original Record of Decision that committed the agency’s full responsibility to clean up this toxic legacy and restore the Hudson River.”

In light of the backtracking of the Federal Government on all things related to the environment and in particular climate change, in the face of increasing evidence of the very real impacts we are already experiencing from Climate Change, all state and municipal governments should consider joining in the efforts noted in the Times Article, in order to do everything possible to address this issue.

-Steven Silverberg