President Donald Trump may have said “no” to the Paris accord, but American companies aren't ready to do so.
Long before the president announced the United States would back out of the Paris climate accord, companies like Google and Apple had already been pressuring the president to stand with them and stay in the Paris agreement. Now, they are no longer urging him to follow their lead; they are simply taking on the project themselves.
Joining Apple and Amazon, Lyft, Spotify, Google, and others have all decided to participate in the growing movement to commit to the Paris agreement despite Trump's plan. The deal, which is signed by 195 nations, is now also being embraced by cities, states, and companies, effectively making Trump's decision to back away virtually meaningless.
"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," a statement released Monday read.
Calling itself “the broadest cross section of the American economy yet assembled in pursuit of climate action,” the coalition is led by former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, and it consists of more than 1,000 organizations, counties, cities, states, and universities.
Promising to contribute $15 million to the United Nations climate change secretariat, the coalition's leader hopes to fill in the gap left behind by the U.S., proving that business leaders do not need approval from the president to ensure the deal is upheld.
Saying that his coalition does “not intend to slow down,” Bloomberg wrote a letter to the United Nations secretary-general stating that America's obligation will be met.
"In the absence of a supportive federal coordinating role, [city, state, business, and civil society] actors will more closely coordinate their own decarbonization actions. Collectively, they will redouble their efforts to ensure that the U.S. achieves the carbon emissions reductions it pledged under the Paris Agreement," he said.
California Gov. Jerry Brown took another step forward by making a deal with China on Tuesday, vowing to work with the country to develop green technologies and demonstrating how cities and states can act unilaterally to push for goals stated in the Paris agreement.
Other local governments that are part of the coalition intend to reduce emissions within their borders in part by investing in public transit instead of developing infrastructure for personal vehicles.
They can also focus on doing business with companies that either offer or rely solely or heavily on renewable energy.
Regardless of how they intend to go about upholding the agreement, it's incredible to see companies and philanthropists come together, joining smaller governmental institutions and showing the world just how ineffective the president is when it comes to imposing policies that go against their core values.
What's left for us to learn is whether Trump will take any action against this growing movement.