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U.S. climate coalition setting up unofficial pavilion at UN Climate talks

We Are Still In organizing unofficial U.S. delegation, climate action pavilion, for next international climate meeting in Germany


The U.S. government may have announced its intentions to back out of the Paris Accord, but many American leaders will make clear the country intends to keep its promises during upcoming international climate negotiations in Germany this fall.

We Are Still In, the coalition of cities, states, companies, and other interest groups, which formed this past summer in response to Trump’s announcement he’s formally beginning the process of withdrawing from the Paris Accords, has grown substantially since June. It now boasts 2,584 different partners seeking to prove the U.S. is still an ally in reducing emissions and fighting climate change, double its number just a few months ago.

During a press conference this morning, members announced the alliance would be hosting a U.S. Climate Action Center at the next round of UN Climate talks, the COP23 meeting being held November 6-17 in Bonn, Germany

This first-of-its-kind pavilion, sponsored by non-federal U.S. actors including Bloomberg Philanthropies and NextGen America, will seek to represent American interests in complying with the Accord and its intentions, and show leadership on the issue beyond the executive branch (especially from cities and mayors). A U.S. Delegation of Climate Leaders will also travel to the meeting to work with representatives from other countries.

This may create an awkward contrast between, and awkward moments for, official negotiators from the Trump administration. Despite announcing the U.S. would formally pull out of the agreement, the U.S. still plans to send negotiators to Bonn.

The 700-person-capacity pavilion, which opens on November 9, will host events, lectures, and discussions (sample title, “No Country for Coal Gen”) led by representatives from different U.S. interest groups, including university presidents, mayors, governors, and business leaders. During COP23, the group America’s Pledge, spearheaded by former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg and California Governor Jerry Brown, will release a report assessing the impact of the sub-national groups looking to live up the the country’s climate pledge, and how they can meet the goals outlined in the Paris Accords.

In addition, allied groups will plan a day of action in support of U.S. action to fight climate change at different locations about the country on November 14.

This morning’s press conference featured speakers representing the diversity of the We Are Still In Coalition: Washington governor Jay Inslee, St. Gabriel, Louisiana mayor Lionel Johnson, and Mars Incorporated’s global sustainability director Kevin Rabinovitch.

Rabinovitch told press that, “atmospheric physics doesn’t care what we believe. It’s science and physics, real things are happening in the real world, where our supply chain operates and our customers live.”

Mars has plans to reduce its CO2 emissions 27 percent by 2025 and a 60 percent by 2050.

New signatories to the plan include Native American tribes, five counties and 213 churches and congregations. To date, the group’s membership represents $6.2 trillion of the U.S. economy and is comprised of 9 states, 252 cities and counties, 1,780 businesses and investors, 339 colleges and universities, 213 communities of faith. That adds up to 130 million Americans, approximately 40 percent of the country’s population.