The County Climate Coalition was started June 2017 by the Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors, under the leadership of then-President Dave Cortese, to encourage other Counties to commit to uphold the United Nations Paris Agreement. The County joined with The Climate Reality Project to engage other Counties to make the same commitment and join the County Climate Coalition.
DECLARATION OF COUNTY CLIMATE COALITION AFFIRMING COUNTIES’ COMMITMENT TO THE PARIS CLIMATE AGREEMENT, ENVIRONMENTAL SUSTAINABILITY, AND COMBATING CLIMATE CHANGE
Consensus exists among the world’s leading climate scientists that we could face a major global climate crisis caused by increasing greenhouse gas emissions, with rising sea levels and melting ice sheets just some of the many impacts that could create increasingly unpredictable and unhealthy living environments as we approach a dangerous threshold of global warming. Documented impacts of global warming include but are not limited to increased occurrences of extreme weather events, significant impacts to human health and safety, destruction of ecosystems, and reduced economic productivity.
In 2015, 195 countries and governments agreed to the United Nations Paris Climate Agreement (“Paris Agreement”), a historic international agreement aimed at reducing carbon emissions, slowing rising global temperatures, and helping countries deal with the effects of climate change. Signatories to the Paris Agreement committed to enact programs and policies to limit global temperature increase to well-below two degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels, with efforts to keep it to one and a half degrees. The United States ratified the Paris Agreement on September 3, 2016 and committed to its own target of reducing carbon emissions by 26 to 28 percent below 2005 levels by 2025.
On June 1, 2017, President Trump announced his intention to withdraw the United States from the Paris Agreement despite the dire consequences of the planet’s rising temperatures and opposition from communities across the country and world. The United States’ withdrawal could result in an additional three billion tons of carbon dioxide being released into the atmosphere each year, and an additional increase of as much as 0.3 degrees Celsius in global temperatures by end of the century.
The County Climate Coalition takes sharp exception to President Trump’s unilateral intention to withdraw the United States from the Paris Agreement and urges the federal government to adhere to its emissions reduction commitments under the Paris Agreement. Regardless of whether the United States ultimately withdraws from the Paris Agreement, the undersigned local governments intend to continue working toward meeting the United States’ commitment under the Paris Agreement through results-oriented strategies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. By combating climate change through renewable solar energy development, alternative community energy providers, enhanced waste diversion, environmentally friendly vehicles, reduction of water usage, and other local solutions, the undersigned local governments will continue their efforts to slow the dangerous pace of global warming while advancing environmental sustainability, protecting public health, and leading innovation.