Alliance Reports States are ‘On Track’ To Hit Emissions Reductions Targets
By Ford Porter, NC Office of the Governor
On September 20, 2017, Governor Roy Cooper announced that North Carolina will join 14 other states in the United States Climate Alliance, which is the bipartisan coalition launched in response to President Trump’s withdrawal from the Paris Agreement. The bipartisan group of states is committed to reducing their share of the US greenhouse gas emission reduction targets in the Paris Agreement.
Said Governor Cooper:
“In the absence of leadership from Washington, North Carolina is proud to join the US Climate Alliance, and we remain committed to reducing pollution and protecting our environment. Clean air and a healthy environment are vital for a strong economy and a healthier future. So much of North Carolina’s economy relies on protecting our treasured natural resources, and I’m committed to maintaining the quality of their air we breathe for generations to come.”
In addition, the US Climate Alliance released in a new report today that the members are collectively on track to meet and possibly exceed their portion of the US commitment.
The US Climate Alliance’s report found:
- Climate Alliance states are on track to reach a 24% to 29% reduction in emissions by 2025, fulfilling their contribution to the Paris Agreement targets.
- Between 2005 and 2015 Alliance states reduced greenhouse gas emissions by 15% (compared to a 10% reduction by the rest of the country).
- During that same decade, the combined economic output of Alliance states grew by 14% (the rest of the country grew by 12%). On a per capita basis, economic output in Alliance states expanded twice as fast as in the rest of the country, showing that climate action and economic growth go hand in hand.
Recently, Governor Cooper signed into law House Bill 589, Competitive Energy Solutions for North Carolina, which will roughly double NC’s solar generation over the next four years.
NC has also risen to #2 nationally for installed solar capacity and is home to over 34,000 clean energy jobs because of a range of state policies, including the NC Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Portfolio Standard (REPS). REPS requires investor-owned electric utilities to source 12.5% of their energy needs through renewable energy or energy efficiency measures by 2021.
In addition, NC has a long tradition of working for a healthier environment and for improved public health. Bipartisan efforts like the Clean Smokestacks Act and the Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Portfolio Standard made NC a national model on reducing air pollution and a national leader in solar energy. Legal battles fought by then-Attorney General Cooper forced polluters including the Tennessee Valley Authority to clean up their emissions when the federal government would not.
In addition to NC, the bipartisan US Climate Alliance includes:
- New York
- Puerto Rico
- Rhode Island
These states encompass 36 percent of the US population and $7.6 trillion (41%) of America’s GDP (Gross Domestic Product). See more on the United States Climate Alliance at www.usclimatealliance.org.