Open letter to the international community and parties to the Paris Agreement from U.S. state, local, and business leaders
We, the undersigned mayors, governors, college and university leaders, businesses, and investors are joining forces for the first time to declare that we will continue to support climate action to meet the Paris Agreement.
In December 2015 in Paris, world leaders signed the first global commitment to fight climate change. The landmark agreement succeeded where past attempts failed because it allowed each country to set its own emission reduction targets and adopt its own strategies for reaching them. In addition, nations - inspired by the actions of local and regional governments, along with businesses - came to recognize that fighting climate change brings significant economic and public health benefits.
The Trump administration’s announcement undermines a key pillar in the fight against climate change and damages the world’s ability to avoid the most dangerous and costly effects of climate change. Importantly, it is also out of step with what is happening in the United States.
In the U.S., it is local and state governments, along with businesses, that are primarily responsible for the dramatic decrease in greenhouse gas emissions in recent years. Actions by each group will multiply and accelerate in the years ahead, no matter what policies Washington may adopt.
In the absence of leadership from Washington, states, cities, colleges and universities, businesses and investors, representing a sizeable percentage of the U.S. economy will pursue ambitious climate goals, working together to take forceful action and to ensure that the U.S. remains a global leader in reducing emissions.
It is imperative that the world know that in the U.S., the actors that will provide the leadership necessary to meet our Paris commitment are found in city halls, state capitals, colleges and universities, investors and businesses. Together, we will remain actively engaged with the international community as part of the global effort to hold warming to well below 2℃ and to accelerate the transition to a clean energy economy that will benefit our security, prosperity, and health.
Signatories in bold >$100 million in annual revenues or >$5 billion in assets under management.
“We remain steadfastly committed to the sustainability, carbon and energy goals that we have set as a company and to the Paris Agreement’s ultimate success. Our experience shows us that these investments and innovations are good for our planet, our company, our customers and the economy.” – Brad Smith, President and Chief Legal Officer, Microsoft
“The coalition harnesses the power of scientific research and political and corporate leadership to make good on America’s promise to the world. Collectively we have resolved to meet or exceed our Paris Agreement commitments.” – Dorothy Leland, Chancellor, UC-Merced
“Climate change is a fact of life that people in Los Angeles and cities around the world live with every day. It is a grave threat to our health, our environment, and our economy — an urgent challenge that requires unprecedented collaboration. The President may be pulling out of the Paris Climate Agreement, but L.A. will lead by committing to the goals of the accord — and working closely with over 200 other Climate Mayors as well as governors and CEOs across the U.S. to do the same.” – Eric Garcetti, Mayor of Los Angeles, Los Angeles, California
“As the first state in the Trump era to take executive action to limit carbon emissions and create clean energy jobs, Virginia is proud to join this alliance of states, cities and businesses. President Trump's announcement to withdraw the United States from the Paris Climate Agreement does not speak for the states and cities that are committed to fighting climate change and paving the way for a new energy economy. If the federal government insists on abdicating leadership on this issue, it will be up to the American people to step forward — and in Virginia we are doing just that.” – Terry McAuliffe, Governor, Commonwealth of Virginia
“Collective action is a powerful force that will ensure the U.S. remains on track to meet and hopefully exceed the goals of the Paris Agreement. Lyft is proud to be part of this coalition and will be taking additional actions in the months and years ahead to ensure we do our part in addressing one of the greatest challenges of our time.” – John Zimmer, CEO, Lyft
“UConn is deeply committed to supporting environmental health and sustainability in any way we can. The decision to withdraw from the Paris Agreement does not mean that we as a university should abdicate our own responsibility to do what we believe is best for our state, the nation, and the world with respect to our environment. We will steadfastly continue to do our part in contributing to global efforts to address climate change.” – Susan Herbst, President, University of Connecticut
“Seagate will continue to support the ideas and principles outlined in the Paris Agreement. A global response to climate change is required, as inaction will be clearly detrimental to humanity and all living species. We will not abdicate our responsibility to lead in this important effort.” – Steve Luczo, Chairman & CEO, Seagate Technology
“At NRG, we believe in a sustainable energy future. Faced with clear scientific and business drivers to address the impacts of climate change, our sector is marching toward a sustainable energy future.” – Bruno Sarda, VP of Sustainability, NRG Energy
“Climate change does not need a passport. This is a global issue that needs a global solution. Investors support the Paris Agreement because it makes financial sense. Because we’re a global investor, we’re looking at this not just in the United States but in a whole wide range of markets internationally.” – Anne Simpson, Investment Director, Sustainability, CalPERS
“It is very regrettable that the US has decided to withdraw from the Paris Climate Treaty. In our opinion, we should not waste the opportunity to future-proof our economies and companies. We can’t pass on the bill to next generations. Therefore, DSM remains committed to climate action.” – Feike Sijbesma, CEO, Royal DSM
“We have been operating on 100 percent renewable energy since 1999, and will remain committed to climate-smart policies in our business and to adopting new and exciting innovations. This is not only good for the planet—it’s good for business. We hope our leaders and fellow businesses will join us in looking ahead and championing the reality that there is no conflict between economic growth and environmental stewardship.” – Josh Prigge, Director of Regenerative Development, Fetzer Vineyards
“The loud voice of business and investment - even as the President makes this historic mistake - has been an inspiration. The U.S. economy is an incredibly powerful engine for growth and prosperity and a wide variety of companies and investors have made it clear that even though the President is relinquishing America’s leadership, we will take up the challenge.” – Jonas Kron, Director of Shareholder Advocacy, Trillium Asset Management
“We strongly disagree with the decision to exit the Paris Climate Agreement and remain committed to running a carbon neutral business and working toward a clean energy economy. We are proud to stand with millions of Americans, US companies, and city and state leaders who are in support of climate action.” – Kevin Cleary, CEO, Clif Bar & Company
“Gap Inc. believes that action on climate change is not an option, it’s an imperative. This is an issue that impacts all of us, and our company was an early and emphatic supporter of the Paris climate agreement. We’re proud to join this group of innovative leaders from cities, states, businesses, and civil society across the US in a commitment to taking action and doing the right thing for our planet and our people.” – Art Peck, President and CEO, Gap Inc.
“Climate change is one of the most important issues of our time. I believe we are faced today with a choice - we either act responsibly and move to address the damage we’ve done to our planet, or we act irresponsibly by failing to ensure a climate-resilient future. At Levi Strauss & Co., we will choose responsibility, and I hope that other business leaders will stand with us. Our future depends on it.” – Chip Bergh, President and CEO, Levi Strauss & Co.
“Aspen Skiing Company isn’t just opposing withdrawal from Paris. We’re going to fight it to the ground, and we’re going to implement the Paris accords ourselves, in our business, in Colorado, and as soon as possible, nationally.” – Auden Schendler, Vice President, Sustainability, Aspen Skiing Company
“Aveda joins many other businesses, local government and academic leaders in continuing to support climate action to meet the Paris Agreement. Aveda remains committed to our longstanding efforts to fight climate change. We will continue to purchase renewable energy and carbon offsets for our manufacturing and other North American operations while striving to be more energy efficient, work with suppliers to reduce the carbon footprint of our supply chain, work with NGO partners and other business to advocate for urgently needed policies, and educate the professionals in our retail, salon and spa network and their guests on actions they can take to make a difference.” – Aveda
“Now that Fortune 500 companies are including climate disclosure in their 10-K reports, we have good data indicating the business risks and upside associated with climate are material to shareholders. More than $4 trillion in assets are at risk due to climate change, $60 billion in energy is wasted in US businesses alone, and there’s a $5.5 trillion market for low-carbon goods and services. We are ready to capitalize on this business opportunity, creating both jobs and profit for shareholders. 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.” – Lynelle Cameron, VP of Sustainability for Autodesk and CEO of the Autodesk Foundation, Autodesk
“Mars stands by the Paris Climate Agreement. We remain committed to work with all governments and our supply chain partners around the world to achieve the carbon reduction targets the planet needs.” – Grant Reid, CEO and Office of the President, Mars
“Man-made climate change is real, the science is incontrovertible, and the threat to our planet is undeniable. We cannot walk away from our obligations and pretend that reality doesn’t exist. We’re going to fight back, lead by example, and work towards a sustainable future in every capacity we can. If the White House works to turn back the clock on the environment, cities like New York will continue to stand up and protect it. That’s why I’m proud to join with hundreds of elected officials, educators, and business leaders in declaring that we’ll uphold the Paris Agreement.” – Scott Stringer, NYC Comptroller
“I have seen firsthand how other countries look to the United States as the most important leader in addressing climate change and the resulting impacts. It is my hope that cities and states will continue to lead this work. The decision of the Trump Administration to pull support of the Paris Agreement is a blow to future generations and the global efforts and commitments that have been made to save our planet.” – Frank Cownie, Mayor of Des Moines, Des Moines, Iowa
“The President’s decision to withdraw from the Paris agreement does nothing but motivate us even more to make responsible decisions on behalf of our planet. Columbia is still committed to finding innovative solutions for renewable energy and protecting the natural resources that we already have. As one of dozens of Mayors for 100% Clean Energy, I know we have the leadership and innovation to ensure our country does not lag behind in the midst of an incredibly important issue.” – Steve Benjamin, Mayor of Columbia, Columbia, South Carolina
“We are deeply disappointed by the recent shift in climate policy. NIKE believes that climate change is a serious global threat and that the world will need to radically redesign industrial systems and economies in order to enable a low-carbon growth economy. We will continue to honor our commitments on climate, including reaching 100% renewable energy in all NIKE owned or operated facilities around the world by 2025, participating in the U.S. Department of Energy’s Better Buildings Challenge and advancing materials innovation globally.” – Hannah Jones, VP, Innovation Accelerator and Chief Sustainability Officer, NIKE, Inc.
“I am deeply disappointed by our nation’s withdrawal from the Paris Climate Agreement. I find energy in the growing list of companies willing to voice their passion, commitment and resolve around our shared social and environmental responsibility. This is an important step for each of us to declare who we are and what we believe in. For us, being a triple bottom line business means putting a stake in the ground around purpose and practices. Across all industries, the time for change is now.” – Eileen Fisher, Founder and Chairwoman, EILEEN FISHER, Inc.
“State attorneys general are on the front lines fighting to protect our residents, the global community, and future generations from the dangers of climate change. We have long led efforts to promote clean energy and clean energy jobs in our states, advance smart policies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and defend the progress we’ve made to address this threat. On behalf of our communities, our businesses, and our residents, the state attorneys general are proud to join this national alliance in support of achieving American commitments to the Paris Agreement.” – Maura Healey, Attorney General, Commonwealth of Massachusetts
The 19 state attorneys general joining the coalition today include:
This statement was coordinated by The American Sustainable Business Council, B Team, Bloomberg Philanthropies, Center for American Progress, Ceres, CDP, Climate Mayors, Climate Nexus, C40, C2ES, Environmental Defense Fund, Environmental Entrepreneurs, Georgetown Climate Center, ICLEI, National League of Cities, Rocky Mountain Institute, Second Nature, Sierra Club, The Climate Group, We Mean Business, and World Wildlife Fund.
About ‘We Are Still In’ and related efforts
Since its initial release on June 5, 2017, more than 2,200 leaders from America’s city halls, state houses, boardrooms and college campuses, representing more than 127 million Americans and $6.2 trillion of the U.S. economy have signed the We Are Still In declaration. Spanning red and blue regions across 50 states, its signatories demonstrate America’s enduring commitment to delivering on the promise of the Paris Agreement and America’s contribution to it. To date, ‘We Are Still In’ is the largest cross section of the American economy yet assembled in pursuit of climate action.
‘We Are Still In’ is a bottom-up network, supported by many individuals and organizations. ‘America’s Pledge,’ is a separate initiative spearheaded by Michael Bloomberg and Governor Jerry Brown, working in parallel to compile and tally the climate actions of states, cities, colleges, businesses and other local actors across the entire United States’ economy.