Attorney General Peter F. Kilmartin today joined forces with a group of 19 attorneys general, mayors, governors and other leaders to pledge continued support for climate action to meet the Paris Climate Agreement. Spearheaded by former Mayor Michael Bloomberg, the We Are Still In coalition issued an open letter to the international community condemning President Trump's recent action to withdraw from the Paris Agreement, and pledged to move forward with policies, independent from Washington, that align with the principles set forth in the Paris Agreement.
"We are all stewards of the environment, not just here in Rhode Island but across the nation and around the world. We cannot sit back while this administration dismantles and destroys the progress that has been made here and abroad to reduce carbon emissions, improve the quality of air we breathe, and clean up our waterways," said Attorney General Kilmartin. "Here in Rhode Island, we have enjoyed both the environmental and economic benefits of moving forward with policies to support the green jobs sector and commit to reducing our carbon footprint. Off our coast stands the nation's first offshore wind farm, which serves as proof that sound environmental policies can equate to sound economic development and job creation. The Block Island Wind Farm stands as an example of the future, while Trump's policies and decision to exit the Paris Agreement is clearly driven by protecting the past and those who profit from polluting our nation."
Attorneys General have been on the front lines in protecting the nation's environment from polluters and challenging the new administration's attempts to rollback sound environmental policies that ensure clean air and water.
In March, Kilmartin led a group of attorneys general urging Congress to resist President Trump's call to slash funding for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). He also joined with other attorneys general to oppose the nomination of Scott Pruitt as EPA director and is part of a coalition that supports the Clean Power Plan.
The 19 state attorneys general joining the coalition today include:
Xavier Becerra, California Attorney General, George Jepsen, Connecticut Attorney General, Matt Denn, Delaware Attorney General, Karl A. Racine, District of Columbia Attorney General, Doug S. Chin, Hawaii Attorney General, Lisa Madigan, Illinois Attorney General, Tom Miller, Iowa Attorney General, Janet E. Mills, Maine Attorney General, Brian E. Frosh, Maryland Attorney General, Maura Healey, Massachusetts Attorney General, Lori Swanson, Minnesota Attorney General, Hector Balderas, New Mexico Attorney General, Eric T. Schneiderman, New York Attorney General, Josh Stein, North Carolina Attorney General, Ellen F. Rosenblum, Oregon Attorney General, Josh Shapiro, Pennsylvania Attorney General, Peter F. Kilmartin, Rhode Island Attorney General, Thomas J. Donovan Jr., Vermont Attorney General, and Mark R. Herring, Virginia Attorney General.
The signatories to the We Are Still In coalition, today released the following statement:
"We, the undersigned mayors, governors, attorneys general, college and university leaders and businesses are joining forces for the first time to declare, that we will continue to support climate action to meet the Paris Agreement.
In December 2015 in Paris, world leaders signed the first global commitment to fight climate change. The landmark agreement succeeded where past attempts failed because it allowed each country to set its own emission reduction targets and adopt its own strategies for reaching them. In addition, nations – inspired by the actions of local and regional governments, along with businesses – came to recognize that fighting climate change brings significant economic and public health benefits.
The Trump administration's announcement undermines a key pillar in the fight against climate change and damages the world's ability to avoid the most dangerous and costly effects of climate change. Importantly, it is also out of step with what is happening in the United States.
In the U.S., it is local and state governments, along with businesses, that are primarily responsible for the dramatic decrease in greenhouse gas emissions in recent years. Actions by each group will multiply and accelerate in the years ahead, no matter what policies Washington may adopt.
In the absence of leadership from Washington, states, cities, colleges and universities and businesses representing a sizeable percentage of the U.S. economy will pursue ambitious climate goals, working together to take forceful action and to ensure that the U.S. remains a global leader in reducing emissions.
It is imperative that the world know that in the U.S., the actors that will provide the leadership necessary to meet our Paris commitment are found in city halls, state capitals, colleges and universities and businesses. Together, we will remain actively engaged with the international community as part of the global effort to hold warming to well below 2°C and to accelerate the transition to a clean energy economy that will benefit our security, prosperity, and health."
The Paris Climate Agreement requires participating countries to limit global warming to well below 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit from preindustrial levels and encourages them to pursue efforts to keep temperature increases to 2.7 degrees Fahrenheit.
The We Are Still In coalition pledges to ensure that despite the country's exit from the agreement the United States will continue to be a leader in reducing greenhouse gas emissions.