Americans Don’t Need Washington to Meet our Paris Commitment
Statement by Michael R. Bloomberg following his meeting with Emmanuel Macron, President of France, and Anne Hidalgo, Mayor of Paris to discuss the United States’ commitment to the Paris Agreement.
It’s always great to be in Paris, and I want to thank President Macron and Mayor Hidalgo for welcoming me here today.
I had the opportunity to sit down with candidate Macron this spring, and this evening, I was able to congratulate President Macron on his victory. I think it’s fair to say it was a victory for independent leadership and for international cooperation — something that all three of us strongly support. International cooperation is especially important on climate change.
The strong consensus among scientists is that the climate is changing due to pollution from human activity. The timing and magnitude of the changes are harder to pin down, but we cannot stick our heads in the sand and ignore the risks they present, especially when we’re already seeing the effects all around us — whether they’re measured in rising sea levels, or depleting coral reefs, or the number of children with asthma.
Prevention is the best medicine — and the overwhelming majority of Americans believe we should be taking action on climate change. The U.S. is the world’s second largest contributor of greenhouse gases, so we have a particular responsibility to lead — and it’s in our own interest to do so, because if we don’t, we will pay for it in worse health, lost jobs, and a weaker economy.
In the U.S., emission levels are determined far more by cities, states, and businesses than they are by our federal government.
Now, I want to be clear: I’m not here to criticize what happened in Washington yesterday. The White House made its decision on the Paris Agreement — but here’s what is most important for the world to understand: In the U.S., emission levels are determined far more by cities, states, and businesses than they are by our federal government.
Over the past decade, the U.S. has led the world in emission reductions — and our federal government had very little to do with it. It happened because of leadership from cities, public opposition to coal plants, and market forces that have made cleaner sources of energy — including solar and wind — cheaper than coal. It makes no sense to pay extra to poison our environment — or to kill jobs. And the clean energy industry is now creating far more jobs than we are losing in the fossil fuel industry.
The fact of the matter is: Americans don’t need Washington to meet our Paris commitment, and Americans are not going to let Washington stand in the way of fulfilling it. That’s the message mayors, governors, and business leaders all across the U.S. have been sending.
So today, we want the world to know: The U.S. will meet our Paris commitment, and, through a partnership among American cities, states, and businesses, we will seek to remain part of the Paris Agreement process. The American government may have pulled out of the Agreement, but the American people remain committed to it — and we will meet our targets.
Through my role as the U.N. Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for Cities and Climate Change I will notify the Secretary-General and Climate Change Secretariat that U.S. cities, states, businesses, and others will aim to meet the U.S. commitment to reduce our emissions 26% below 2005 levels by 2025. We are already half-way there — and we can accelerate our progress further, even without any support from Washington.
My foundation, Bloomberg Philanthropies, will help coordinate the U.S. effort, which we are calling America’s Pledge, and together, we will submit a societal NDC — or nationally determined contribution — just as every other nation has done. Bloomberg Philanthropies has also committed to providing the $15 million that the UN Climate Change Secretariat will lose from Washington, to ensure that there is no disruption to its work. We will also fulfill the Paris Agreement’s reporting requirements, so the world can track our progress, just as they can with any other nation.
I’m glad to say the U.N. has been very receptive to our proposal.
And I have asked President Macron to convey to other national leaders that the U.S., through strong action by local leaders, businesses, and investors, remains committed to fulfilling the Paris Agreement. I look forward to continuing to work with him and Mayor Hidalgo to ensure that the Paris Agreement remains in full force.
Thank you — et merci.