President Donald Trump may have withdrawn the United States from the international agreement to deal with climate change, but Gov. Roy Cooper says North Carolina is joining 14 other states in the U.S. Climate Alliance.
The alliance is a bipartisan group of states committed to reducing their share of greenhouse gas emissions in line with the goals that countries agreed upon as part of the Paris climate deal.
“In the absence of leadership from Washington, North Carolina is proud to join the U.S. Climate Alliance, and we remain committed to reducing pollution and protecting our environment,” Cooper said in a statement on Wednesday. “Clean air and a healthy environment are vital for a strong economy and a healthier future. So much of North Carolina’s economy relies on protecting our treasured natural resources, and I’m committed to maintaining the quality of their air we breathe for generations to come.”
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The Democratic governor, who took office this year, touted Climate Alliance statistics that show that the states are on track to to meet and possibly exceed their portion of U.S. reduction targets in the Paris Agreement.
The Climate Alliance released a report on Wednesday saying:
▪ Climate Alliance states are on track to reach a 24 to 29 percent reduction in their 2005 emissions of heat-trapping gases by 2025, which would fulfill their contribution to Paris Agreement targets.
▪ Between 2005 and 2015, Climate Alliance states reduced their greenhouse gas emissions by 15 percent, compared to 10 percent for the rest of the country.
▪ During that same decade, the combined economic output of Climate Alliance states grew by 14 percent while the rest of the country grew by 12 percent. On a per-capita basis, economic output in Climate Alliance states expanded twice as fast as in the rest of the country, “showing that climate action and economic growth go hand-in-hand,” according to Cooper’s statement.
The Climate Alliance includes: California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Puerto Rico, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia and Washington. Those states make up about 36 percent of the U.S. population and $7.6 trillion (41 percent) of America’s gross domestic product.