THE United Nations Convention on Climate Change in Paris, France, in December, 2015, approved a landmark agreement for the world’s nations to accelerate and intensify their efforts to combat climate change.
In April the next year, 174 countries, including the Philippines, signed the agreement at the UN headquarters in New York City, with each country submitting a “nationally determined contribution” to the goal of keeping the rise in global temperature as a result of industrial carbon emissions down to 1.5 degrees Celsius over pre-industrial levels.
It was a notable show of international unity with one major setback – the United States, now led by newly elected President Donald Trump, rejected the treaty. The US is the world’s biggest industrial nation today and the No. 1 producer of industrial emissions that are causing the steady rise in world temperature and causing climate change.
California became the first American state to go against Trump’s policy on climate change. Gov. Jerry Biown, signed an executive order with the goal of making California carbon-neutral by 2045.
Last week, the New York State Assembly voted 104-35 to become the second US state to aim for a carbon-neutral economy. “This means that despite the mood of anti-science in our nation, the disbelief in Washington to climate change, states can lead the way,” assembly member Steve Englebright, the bill’s sponsor, said. He said he hoped New York can inspire other states to enact similar state laws.
In the Oregon State Assembly, lawmakers voted to cap climate change emissions but the bill still has to go to the State Senate. The Oregon bill would reward those who slash their planet-warming emissions with credits they can sell to others who exceed government-mandated limits.
Nations around the world are moving to reduce their carbon emissions in various ways. The Philippines is developing renewable energy sources, such as wind, solar, river, geothermal, and biomass. China is moving strongly towards electric cars to cut down on emissions of cars powered by gasoline, diesel, and other fossil fuels.
But the US is still the world’s biggest producer of industrial carbon emissions. Three states – California, New York, and Oregon – have now defied the national government policy against the Paris agreement on climate change and carbon emissions. We hope other states will take up the campaign which may yet move President Trump to have the US join the rest of the world in striving for a cleaner world.