As I was researching for another blog post this afternoon, I came across the website for the United States Climate Alliance. I thought the success of the Climate Alliance would be worthwhile highlighting.
I knew that there was a group of governors who recognized the importance of addressing the rate of growth of greenhouse gas emissions. The member states (and territories) have now grown to twenty-four. The have established state policies and programs to attempt to meet the Paris Climate Agreement targets of the United States at their state level.
If you are not aware, the alliance consists of 23 states (plus Puerto Rico):
- New Jersey
- New Mexico
- New York
- North Carolina
- Rhode Island
- +Puerto Rico
Statistically, 55 percent of the US population resides in the Alliance. Economically, it is an $11.7 trillion economy which makes it the third largest country in the world – behind the US and China. Between 2005 and 2016, states of the Alliance reduced their greenhouse gas emissions by 14 percent while the remaining US states reduced theirs by 11 percent. During that same period, the combined economic output of Alliance member states grew by 16 percent while the remaining US states grew by 14 percent.
Unfortunately, I fear that the problem is cultural. With only a couple of notable exceptions (North Carolina and Virginia) the member states of the Alliance are generally along the two coasts and Canadian border. Colorado is another story. I lived there for a number of years. Although, there are, no doubt, local programs underway in the non-member states, there doesn’t appear to be broader action among them to work together, which unfortunate.
Regardless, the success of the Climate Alliance belies arguments from the political right wing that we can’t reduce our emissions and grow our economy at the same time. Those arguments are sheer nonsense. The success of the Climate Alliance represented by the facts simply proves it can be done. The member states are doing it and they are out-producing the non-member states in the process. It appears that success isn’t an appropriate counterweight, as yet, to ignorance and lobbyists influence.