Americans Uphold the Paris Agreement
In 2015, nearly every country in the world came together in Paris and agreed on a plan to fight climate change, together. The plan allows countries to develop their own policies to keep the increase in global average temperature to well below 2°C above pre-industrial levels.
This month, President Trump announced his decision to withdraw the US from that historic agreement. While the actual process of pulling out of the Paris Accords will take years, the about-face was nevertheless a huge setback for a unified, global effort to build a better world.
Then, just hours following Trump’s announcement, prominent figures from Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto to Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg began expressing their support for the Paris agreement and pledging to step up to ensure continuation of the progress we’ve made.
Several days later, more than 1,000 governors, mayors, businesses, investors, and colleges and universities from across the US declared their intent to ensure America remains a global leader in reducing carbon emissions under the banner “We Are Still In”.
“There’s a $5.5 trillion market for low-carbon goods and services. We are ready to capitalize on this business opportunity… at Autodesk, we are all in, and are more committed than ever to enlist our customers to design, build and manufacture net positive climate solutions,” said Lynelle Cameron, Vice President of Sustainability for Autodesk.
Cameron’s sentiments were echoed, over and over again, by hundreds of other business leaders. Among the signatories of this new coalition are Ikea North America, Target, L’Oréal, Google, Adobe, The North Face, Nike, Apple, Unilever and many others.
While the process of reducing emissions will take many years, businesses and local governments have already been making changes that put them on the right path and set an example for others to follow.
California’s SB-32 bill that was originally passed in 2006 and updated in 2016 has expanded the state’s solar capacity, subsidized electric cars, and encouraged development around transit. Companies like Microsoft and Patagonia are taxing themselves for environmental damages, increasing building efficiency, scrutinizing their supply chains for sustainability, and much more. And cities and states across the country are passing more ambitious renewable energy targets.
What can individuals do to encourage these trends, aim higher, and help others get involved?
All of us are part of something bigger, whether it’s a company we work for or a county we live in. Get to know who your local, state and federal representatives are and talk to them about their strategy for addressing climate change. Talk to the brands you purchase from and encourage them to make sustainable changes, too.
You can also help your coworkers commit to your organization’s corporate sustainability goals by becoming an EarthShare Corporate Alliance partner or joining the EarthShare at Work program. We’ll give you the ability to directly assist the nonprofits working to find solutions, while learning more about the impacts of our changing climate on our environment, our work, and our lives.