BONN (November 10, 2017) Leaders from the BlueGreen Alliance today were joined by The Business Council for Sustainable Energy at the United Nations’ 23rd annual climate change summit, also called COP23, in Bonn, Germany, to discuss how cooperative efforts are underway in the United States to fight climate change. The leaders said the labor and environmental movements have joined with businesses, cities, states, and regions to take action on climate in the face of the Trump administration’s commitment to withdraw from the Paris agreement.“The world is not standing still waiting for President Trump to come to his senses on responding to the threats posed by climate change,” said Alden Meyer, director of strategy and policy at the Union of Concerned Scientists.
“Fortunately, they don’t have to. Local and state leaders, businesses, union members, environmentalists, and others in the U.S. are working together to address climate change in smart ways that will create and sustain good jobs in their communities. Their message to the world is clear: ‘we are still in,’ no matter what Donald Trump says or does.”
“By 2030, it is estimated that the global demand for clean energy will become a $1 trillion annual market,” said Lisa Jacobson, President of the Business Council for Sustainable Energy. “U.S. companies are leaders in these markets and are committed to serving the needs of customers worldwide that are demanding these solutions. We need leadership at local, state, and regional levels—joined by the business community—to ensure we maintain America’s competitiveness in manufacturing and technology industries.”
The speakers highlighted opportunities for the United States to reduce carbon pollution and create quality jobs. One such example is “Buy Clean” legislation in California, which was recently passed by the state’s legislature and signed into law by California Governor Jerry Brown. The newly enacted law will incentivize the government of the state of California to procure materials with lower life-cycle carbon emissions when repairing and modernizing the state’s infrastructure system. Another example touted by the groups is the first offshore wind farm off the coast of Rhode Island, which is not only creating renewable power for thousands of households, but creating quality, family-sustaining, union jobs as well.
Despite the administration’s intention to withdraw from the Paris agreement, the speakers reiterated their support for an international agreement that supports workers and addresses the ongoing climate crisis.
“Last month—for the first time—the U.S. labor movement passed a resolution on climate change resolving to support action on combatting climate change while ensuring that environmental and energy policies include a focusing on ensuring high labor standards as well as environmental sustainability,” said United Steelworkers (USW) Legislative Representative Anna Fendley. “Despite the Trump administration’s actions, the USW is committed to working at the state and local levels to keep the U.S. commitments made in the Paris agreement.”
“Since the President’s announcement, we have seen an outpouring of innovative and courageous leaders announce new and revitalized efforts to fight climate change, while creating quality jobs,” said Jessica Eckdish, senior policy advisory for the BlueGreen Alliance. “With or without the president and Congress, the world is moving forward and we need to keep pace to ensure that we tackle climate change in ways that increase America’s competitiveness, grow and sustain quality jobs in the U.S., and protect our environment, communities, and workers.”