As the Trump administration begins the process of withdrawing the U.S. from the Paris climate agreement, three states in the Mountain West pledge to follow the tenets of the accord anyway.
Colorado, Montana and Nevada are all part of the U.S. Climate Alliance, a coalition of governors from 24 states and Puerto Rico committed to fighting climate change.
“When a governor joins his or her state to the alliance, they make three commitments, one of which is that they will collectively meet their share of the U.S. emission reduction contribution to the Paris agreement,” said Julie Cerqueira, the alliance’s executive director.
Cerqueira said the governors, most of whom are Democrats, also agree to track and report progress publicly, and accelerate the implementation of existing and new policies aimed at reducing greenhouse gases.
Montana Gov. Steve Bullock, a Democrat running for president, responded to the Paris pullout on Twitter, saying, “Trump is putting polluters above people.”
In Colorado, Gov. Jared Polis this spring signed seven bills intended to limit the state’s contributions to climate change. And Nevada updated its renewable portfolio standard this year, committing to 50% renewable energy by 2030 and 100% carbon-free energy by 2050.
U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said in a statement Monday that the Paris accord stifles the American economy and is not necessary because the U.S. is already reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
The withdrawal won’t be complete until November of next year, one day after Election Day.
This story was produced by the Mountain West News Bureau, a collaboration between Wyoming Public Media, Boise State Public Radio in Idaho, KUER in Salt Lake City, KUNR in Nevada, the O’Connor Center for the Rocky Mountain West in Montana, and KRCC and KUNC in Colorado.