November 11, 2017 / 10:32 AM / 9 days ago

Anti-Trump group says most of US economy backs Paris climate pact

OSLO, Nov 11 (Reuters) - U.S. cities, states and businesses accounting for more than half the country’s economy remain committed to the 2015 Paris climate accord despite President Donald Trump’s plan to pull out, an anti-Trump alliance said on Saturday.

The “America’s Pledge” report, presented on the sidelines of 200-nation talks on global warming in Bonn, Germany, said non-federal U.S. backers of the Paris pact accounted for $10.1 trillion or 54 percent of U.S. 2016 gross domestic product.

“The group ... represents a bigger economy than any nation outside the U.S. and China,” said former New York mayor Michael Bloomberg, a leading opponent of Trump’s decision in June to withdraw from the agreement and to promote U.S. coal and oil.

No other nation has followed Trump’s lead.

The report, led by Bloomberg and California Governor Jerry Brown, said it was the first to assess the extent of non-federal support for climate action by U.S. cities, businesses and states.

The Paris agreement seeks to end the fossil fuel era this century with a radical shift to cleaner energies such as wind and solar power to curb heat waves, downpours, floods and rising sea levels.

“California strongly supports the United Nations’ unstoppable move to decarbonise the world economy,” Brown said.

Backing the Paris Agreement meant rallying around a target set by former President Barack Obama to cut U.S. emissions by between 26 and 28 percent below 2005 levels by 2025, the report said.

It also said 20 U.S. states, 110 U.S. cities and more than 1,400 businesses with U.S. operations representing $25 trillion in market capitalization had already set quantified targets to cut emissions.

Together they accounted for 900 million tonnes of greenhouse gases per year, it said.

“You are part of an unstoppable movement that is stretching North and South, East and West,” Patricia Espinosa, head of the U.N. climate change secretariat, said in a statement.

America’s Pledge said climate action did not brake economic growth. U.S. net greenhouse gas emissions have dropped by 11.5 percent in the past decade, while the economy grew by 15 percent, it said.

The report said that a next phase of the report, in 2018, would look more in detail at the extent of U.S. actions.

On Friday, former U.S. vice president Al Gore predicted in Bonn that the United States would meet the goals set by Obama.

“The leading experts in the United States are telling us that the U.S. is on track to meet and exceed the Paris commitments regardless of what Tweets or statements come from the White House,” he said. (Reporting By Alister Doyle)

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