Press Release: We Are Still In Outlines COP23 Plans

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Assuring world leaders that the U.S. is still an ally in the fight against climate change, American non-federal leaders formally announced their plans today for a U.S. Climate Action Center and U.S. delegations of climate leaders at the next round of UN climate talks (COP23) to be held in Bonn, Germany. The initiative, spearheaded through the We Are Still In movement in coordination with more than 40 organizations, plans to showcase ambitious U.S. climate action in the pavilion. U.S. climate leaders will demonstrate America’s resolve to remain a global frontrunner in reducing greenhouse gas emissions, despite recent moves by the federal government to begin the process of withdrawing from the Paris Agreement.

The pavilion is the first of its kind and is being sponsored exclusively by non-federal U.S. actors. Bloomberg Philanthropies has provided generous support for the activities of the U.S. Climate Action Center. Others, such as NextGen America, have also provided support. The pavilion will host a full roster of events starting November 9th and provide space for exhibitions from a wide range of U.S. organizations throughout its duration.

The plans -- described at a press briefing by Washington State Governor Jay Inslee, St. Gabriel, Louisiana Mayor Lionel Johnson, and Mars Incorporated Global Sustainability Director Kevin Rabinovitch -- come amidst a surge of support to uphold the Paris Agreement. A Republican elected leader, Native American tribes, five counties and 213 churches and congregations signed the We Are Still In declaration today. Prominent signatories include: Republican Mayor Jim Brainard of Carmel, Indiana; the Cathedral of Hope United Church of Christ in Dallas Texas; and the National Indian Gaming Association, among others.

By joining We Are Still In, all of today’s signatories are demonstrating their support to help the U.S. achieve its promised greenhouse gas emissions reductions under the Paris Agreement. The aggregate climate actions of We Are Still In signatories and other non-federal U.S. actors are being quantified through America’s Pledge, an initiative spearheaded by UN Special Envoy for Cities and Climate Change Michael Bloomberg and California Gov. Jerry Brown. The first phase of their analysis will be unveiled at the U.S. Climate Action Center on Saturday, Nov. 11.

In a robust show of support for the UN climate talks, a large and varied delegation of climate leaders representing state governors, mayors and council members, campuses, and businesses and investors will be traveling to Bonn for COP 23. Governors of the U.S. Climate Alliance including Oregon Governor Kate Brown and Washington Governor Jay Inslee are participating in a delegation being organized by The Climate Registry, The Climate Action Reserve, and the Georgetown Climate Center, alongside many other delegations representing leaders from the public and private sectors. The delegation and U.S. Climate Action Center will host breaking news events throughout COP23. A complete schedule of events can be found here, and some highlights are included below:

  • America’s Pledge report launch, featuring Mike Bloomberg and Governor Jerry Brown (Nov. 11th)
  • A Panel on Climate Impacts and Resiliency featuring US mayors and Senators (Nov. 11th)
  • A Governors’ Panel: organized by the Climate Action Registry, Climate Action Reserve, and Georgetown (Nov. 14th)
  • A Business Showcase (Nov. 15th)

We Are Still In has emerged as the largest demonstration of continued climate leadership in the face of the federal government’s intended withdrawal from the Paris Agreement. It has been embraced by the United Nations and applauded by Americans eager to show the world that U.S. leadership on climate change extends well beyond the executive branch of the federal government. In a show of support for climate action and the local leaders participating in COP23, citizen groups have planned events in more than a dozen U.S. cities on Nov. 14 as part of a Still In Day of Action.

The We Are Still In declaration has grown to encompass a bipartisan group of signatories in all 50 U.S. states since its meteoric launch on June 5 following President Trump’s announced intent to withdraw from the Paris Agreement. Its membership represents $6.2 trillion of the U.S. economy and is comprised of 9 states, 252 cities and counties, 1,780 businesses and investors, 339 colleges and universities, 213 communities of faith that include multiple religions and other sectors. With the most recent signatories, We Are Still In now represents over 130 million Americans or approximately 40 percent of the U.S. population.

U.S. and Global Leaders Speak Up for Paris

“It’s critical for the world to know that the U.S. will continue to lead on climate change--and that we can fulfill our Paris commitments even without help from Washington. By pitching a big tent in Bonn, we are providing space for American mayors, governors and business leaders to collaborate with their counterparts around the world. In the U.S., progress on climate change has always been driven from the ground up, not the top down--and that’s what we’ll emphasize in Bonn.” -- Michael Bloomberg, UN Special Envoy for Cities and Climate Change

"Paris is everyone's deal. It belongs to cities, businesses, nongovernmental organizations, and all of global civil society as much as it belongs to nation-states. So when President Trump attempted to destabilize the process by announcing his intent to withdraw, there was no domino effect of despair. Instead, he unleashed an inspirational counter-movement in support of the Paris Agreement, which is embodied so beautifully in the We Are Still In Campaign. It gives me great optimism to see this campaign taking things forward for the US at COP in Bonn this year." -- Christiana Figueres, former Executive Secretary of UNFCCC

“The people of the U.S. do not want to withdraw from the Paris Agreement. They recognize the necessity of dealing with climate change. America will continue to provide leadership, if not from the federal government then from the local and state government of our country. At the local level when we get away from the partisan politics, everyone from whatever party or political philosophy wants to leave the earth in better shape than they found it. I represent a city that is 80 percent republican but yet we had a unanimous vote of our city council, all Republicans, a few weeks ago to set a carbon neutral goal for 2050.” -- Mayor James Brainard of Carmel, Indiana

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We Are Still In is a network of more than 2,580 mayors, governors, CEOs, and college presidents that are committed to supporting climate action to help meet the U.S. emission reduction targets under the Paris Agreement.