68 mayors adopt Paris climate accord after U.S. pulls out

The 68 mayors who previously pledged to ignore President Donald Trump’s climate change policies have upped their commitment after he announced his intent to withdraw the U.S. from the Paris climate accord: At least 68 cities are adopting the historic agreement themselves.

The group of mayors, who represent more than 36 million Americans and some of the largest U.S. cities, outlined a plan to align with the other 194 nations that adopted the accord:

We will continue to lead. We are increasing investments in renewable energy and energy efficiency. We will buy and create more demand for electric cars and trucks. We will increase our efforts to cut greenhouse gas emissions, create a clean energy economy, and stand for environmental justice. And if the President wants to break the promises made to our allies enshrined in the historic Paris Agreement, we’ll build and strengthen relationships around the world to protect the planet from devastating climate risks.

The members of the Mayors National Climate Action Agenda known as the Climate Mayors had previously announced in March that they would not enforce an executive order that rolled back the previous administration’s policies to regulate energy production and reduce emissions.

Reactions to yesterday's withdrawal have been echoed in various other statements from city leaders. As part of a different agreement, the U.S. Conference of Mayors announced that 29 cities will move to 100 percent clean energy in response to Trump’s decision. And a group of mayors from the Mississippi River Cities & Towns Initiative have published their own letter pledging climate action in the face of federal withdrawal.

The U.S. mayors are joined by dozens of international mayors who have made their own commitments to the climate agreement meant to limit the rise of global average temperatures to 2.0 degrees Celsius. (Although the cities cannot technically join the agreement, they can informally agree to its guidelines.) According to a statement from Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo, who serves as the chair of C40, an international coalition of mayors focused on climate action, the cities remain united in their goals.

“Regardless of President Trump’s decision, the great cities of the world, in particular the twelve American C40 cities, remain resolutely committed to doing what needs to be done to implement the Paris Agreement,” she said. “Not a single day goes by without C40 mayors on every continent making bold and pioneering choices, serving citizens of the future.”

In the Climate Mayors statement, the mayors claim that not only will their cities individually adopt the Paris accord, they will work as a group to push for even stronger climate action. “We will intensify efforts to meet each of our cities’ current climate goals, push for new action to meet the 1.5 degrees Celsius target, and work together to create the 21st-century clean energy economy,” reads the statement. “The world cannot wait—and neither will we.”