Today, the We Are Still In coalition issued a statement from U.S. communities, businesses, and institutions calling for a national mobilization on climate and recovery. Signed by over 1,500 leaders, the statement endorses a net-zero trajectory for the United States, calls on the federal government to pursue a just and ambitious approach to climate policy and economic renewal, and commits signatories to centering climate in their own operations and seeking unprecedented partnership between federal and non-federal actors. The release comes two days ahead of the Paris Agreement’s fifth anniversary.
The statement’s signatories, which include companies like Coca-Cola and Cargill, state and tribal governments like the Commonwealth of Virginia and the Quinault Indian Nation, large and small cities like Chicago, Illinois and Erie, Pennsylvania, cultural institutions like the Monterey Bay Aquarium, Arizona State University and over 100 other colleges and the Boston Medical Center. These leaders cover a wide cross section of the American economy and society, including health care organizations, colleges and universities, faith groups, companies and investors. Together, they broadly represent the accelerating climate action driven by American cities and counties, states, and tribal nations, and the depth of U.S. commitment to working towards the achievement of our existing and future U.S. targets under the Paris Agreement.
The statement, now public, will be delivered to UN officials and heads of state at the UK-hosted Climate Ambition Summit on December 12 (which has taken the place of the annual UN climate talks, which are postponed by the global coronavirus pandemic). Michigan Governor Whitmer and Massachusetts Governor Baker have been invited to participate in the UK summit, and they will carry the solidarity and ambition of U.S. non-federal leaders to the conference.
“December 12th is more than an anniversary of an agreement, it represents a critical turning point for the future of U.S. and global climate action,” said Elan Strait, Director of US Climate Campaigns at World Wildlife Fund (WWF). “Nationally, we have stumbled in our leadership on climate action. But We Are Still In shows that there was a commitment to change in the United States that never faltered. Today's statement sends a clear message that, moving forward, we need a unified national response to the climate crisis.”
Local leaders across the country have held the line on U.S. climate action as the Trump administration pursued withdrawal from the Paris Agreement and a retreat on federal climate and clean energy policies. The private sector, local governments, higher education, cultural institutions and more have made an unprecedented amount of climate commitments over the last four years and have worked together to set new standards in transportation, buildings, the power sector and more. In addition, We Are Still In and other American coalitions of non-federal actors have sent a larger delegation than the U.S. government to the annual UN climate negotiations every year since 2017.
While the Trump administration officially left the Paris Agreement on November 4th, 2020, President-elect Biden has indicated that he intends to rejoin as soon as he takes office. The U.S. would officially be part of the global pact again 30 days later. Today’s statement from local leaders indicates their desire to partner with the incoming Biden-Harris administration on climate action, and notes that the U.S. can go further on emissions reductions if the federal government works with local governments, the private sector, and institutions across the nation.
Select signatories are available for interviews and some have offered quotes below:
“There’s never been a more important time for us to come together and accelerate the progress we’ve made to address the climate crisis than now,” said Katie Fallon, Chief Global Impact Officer at McDonald’s. “At McDonald’s, we believe we have a special obligation to help the nearly 40,000 communities we serve build a more resilient and equitable future. This global pandemic is a needed wake-up call that there is still much work to be done, and that we can only succeed if we innovate and collaborate together – that is why we are still in.”
“Climate change is the greatest issue facing humanity and has been compounded by both increasing catastrophic natural disasters and the pandemic with irreversible damage being done to our planet. As one of the world’s largest apparel and footwear companies, we work to leverage our scale and impact in the fight against climate change to protect people and the planet. The challenges of this year have strengthened our resolve and accelerated our actions, and we are committed to continue doing our part to meet the collective goals.” – Jeannie Renné-Malone, Vice President, Global Sustainability, VF Corporation
“With meaningful action now to address climate change, we can also help build a more equitable, resilient and healthy society,” said Rachelle Wenger, vice president of public policy and advocacy engagement for CommonSpirit Health. “Communities and families who are most vulnerable under this pandemic are those who are also more likely at risk to bear the brunt of climate impacts. As a nation, we must do better to address climate change as a public health issue if we are to heal as a nation and care for our common home.”
View the statement and signatories at AmericaIsAllIn.com
Learn more at WeAreStillIn.com