Governor Roy Cooper announced today that North Carolina will join 14 other states in the U.S. 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 U.S. greenhouse gas emission reduction targets in the Paris Agreement.
“In the absence of leadership from Washington, North Carolina is proud to join the U.S. Climate Alliance, and we remain committed to reducing pollution and protecting our environment,” said Gov. Cooper. “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 U.S. Climate Alliance released in a new report today that the members are collectively on track to meet and possibly exceed their portion of the U.S. commitment.
The U.S. Climate Alliance’s report found:
- Climate Alliance states are on track to reach a 24 to 29 percent 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 percent (compared to a 10 percent reduction by the rest of the country).
- During that same decade, the combined economic output of Alliance states grew by 14 percent (the rest of the country grew by 12 percent). 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, Gov. Cooper signed into law House Bill 589, Competitive Energy Solutions for North Carolina, which will roughly double North Carolina’s solar generation over the next four years.
North Carolina 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 N.C. 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, North Carolina 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 North Carolina 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 North Carolina, the bipartisan U.S. Climate Alliance includes California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New York, Oregon, Puerto Rico, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia and Washington. These states encompass 36 percent of the U.S. population and $7.6 trillion (41 percent) of America’s GDP.