- North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper (D) announced this week that North Carolina is joining the U.S. Climate Alliance, a group which includes more than a dozen states and Puerto Rico that are committed to meeting the goals of the United Nations Paris climate agreement.
- Led by Washington, New York and California, the states came together after President Trump announced over the summer that the United States would abandon the international accord.
- States involved in the Alliance make up 36% of the U.S. population and $7.6 trillion of the country's GDP, but The New York Times reports the country as a whole will still fall significantly short of the Paris goals with just a handful of states in the mix.
States involved in the Climate Alliance are making significant cuts to emissions and are on track to meet Paris goals, but the Times notes a sobering realization: With just over a third of the country's population, it will not be enough to meet the accord's goals.
Emissions in the United States will likely drop 15% to 19% by 2025, rather than up to 28% under the accord President Obama agreed to. But the states involved in the Climate Alliance are on track to reach a 24% to 29% reduction in emissions.
“In the absence of leadership from Washington, North Carolina is proud to join the U.S. Climate Alliance, and we remain committed to reducing pollution and protecting our environment,” Cooper said in a statement.
The Alliance also issued new data showing that between 2005 and 2015, the states reduced greenhouse gas emissions by 15%, compared to a 10% reduction by the rest of the country — and during that timeframe, combined economic output of Alliance states grew by 14%, slightly higher than the rest of the country's 12% growth.
North Carolina is now second in the nation for installed solar capacity and hosts more than 34,000 clean energy jobs. The N.C. Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Portfolio Standard requires investor-owned electric utilities to source 12.5% of their energy needs through renewable energy or energy efficiency measures by 2021.
In addition to North Carolina, the U.S. Climate Alliance includes: California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New York, Oregon, Puerto Rico, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia and Washington.