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States fulfill climate pact

When President Donald Trump announced his intention in June to withdraw the United States from the Paris Climate Agreement, the Rochester Business Journal’s editorial said that the decision wouldn’t necessarily have a negative long-term effect on the environment.

One reason for that opinion was that there were signs then that other entities would step up to make sure the U.S. meets its obligations even if the federal government is not involved. New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo is co-chair of one of those entities: the U.S. Climate Alliance.

Cuomo announced Wednesday that North Carolina has joined the alliance, bringing its membership to 14 states plus Puerto Rico. An independent report released this week shows that U.S. Climate Alliance states are on track to fulfill their Paris Agreement obligations by reducing emissions by 24 percent to 29 percent from 2005 levels by 2025.

“While the federal government abdicates its responsibility on climate change, governors do not have the luxury of denying a scientific reality, and it is more important than ever for states to take collective, common sense action,” Cuomo said. “We are committed to upholding our share of the Paris Agreement, driving the clean-energy economy, and ensuring a greener future for our children and for all Americans.”

The report also showed that meeting these climate goals may be good for both the environment and the economy. Between 2005 and 2015, states in the alliance reduced greenhouse gas emissions by 15 percent compared to a 10 percent reduction for the rest of the country. Over that same period, the combined economic output of those states grew by 14 percent, compared to 12 percent growth for the other states. And economic output on a per capita basis grew twice as fast for alliance states.

It is heartening to see states and businesses recognizing the need for environmental action, and to see them rewarded for their efforts.

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