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21 members of Congress urge state governors to continue efforts of Paris accord

"If Donald Trump's administration won't lead, our states must," the Democrats wrote

Washington CNN —  

Congressional West Coast Democrats are calling on their states’ governors to uphold the core tenets of the Paris climate agreement in the wake of President Donald Trump’s expected move to pull the US out of the worldwide accord.

Reps. Earl Blumenauer of Oregon, Jared Huffman of California, and Suzan DelBene of Washington, along with 18 other West Coast members of Congress, sent a letter Wednesday urging governors in their states to form a “green wall” to maintain climate leadership in the country.

“While President Trump continues to ignore reality, we are particularly grateful for your efforts. In order to send a signal to the international community, and to uphold our obligations to current and future generations, we encourage you to continue to aggressively address the threat of climate change and abide by this international effort,” the lawmakers wrote in the letter.

They added: “The Paris Agreement calls for significant reductions in greenhouse gas emissions, and if Donald Trump’s administration won’t lead, our states must.”

This is not the first time states have vowed to forge ahead on climate policies regardless of Washington.

Speaking just a few days after Trump took the presidential oath, California Gov. Jerry Brown made a commitment that his state would not back down in its efforts to combat climate change.

“Our state is known the world over for actions we’ve taken to encourage renewable energy and combat climate change,” Brown said in a fiery State of the State address in January. “Whatever they do in Washington, they can’t change the facts, and these are the facts: The climate is changing. The temperatures are rising – and so are the oceans. Natural habitats everywhere are under stress.”

According to the letter, the states have already enacted legislation and passed initiatives that put them ahead of others when it comes to efforts to curb global warming.

Oregon recently adopted a plan to have 50% its electricity come from renewable energy sources by 2040. California implemented a carbon reduction plan requiring a 40% reduction below 1990 levels by 2030. And earlier this year, Washington state implemented its own Clean Air rule, effectively putting a price on carbon pollution.

The idea of a “green wall” was earlier pitched back in 2015 during an ideas symposium in Portland, Oregon, with the wall metaphorically representing collaboration between the cities. The mayors of five West Coast cities introduced large-scale ideas meant to show dedication to taking on outsized roles in saving the planet from climate change.