The Rust Belt resistance is here. The day after President Trump formally made good on his promise to withdraw from the Paris Climate Accord, Pittsburgh’s mayor issued an executive order stating the city would continue to adhere to the Paris Accord guidelines. And Pittsburgh isn’t alone — other cities all over the country have stood up to say they, too, will stay on course.
Pittsburgh’s mayor Bill Peduto has clashed with Trump on the Climate Accord before. Peduto explained his executive order, and how his decision is tied to Pittsburgh’s own industrial legacy and the new direction the city has taken in recent years: “For decades Pittsburgh has been rebuilding its based on hopes for our people and our future, not on outdated fantasies about our past,” said Peduto. “The City and its many partners will continue to do the same, despite the President’s imprudent announcements yesterday.”
While New York City’s former mayor Bloomberg is taking the novel approach of offering to foot the bill for the Paris Accord, others are taking matters in their own hands. Peduto is joined by over eighty mayors throughout the U.S. The mayors of cities who are sticking with the Climate Accord have their own Medium account called Climate Mayors, and used it to issue an official statement on their position:
“As 86 Mayors representing 40 million Americans, we will adopt, honor, and uphold the commitments to the goals enshrined in the Paris Agreement. 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 a 21st century clean energy economy.
“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 world cannot wait — and neither will we.”
Since the statement was released, the number of mayors involved has risen to 92. Some of the cities involved are predictable suspect. There are the cities that are most immediately threatened by climate change, such as New Orleans and Orlando, Florida. Aspen and Boulder, Colorado; Asheville, North Carolina; and Burlington, Vermont, are in the subset whose economies rely heavily on outdoor activities like hiking and skiing. Tech-heavy cities like Palo Alto, Berkeley, and Reno Nevada whose major companies tussled with Trump over the Muslim immigration ban were also quick to step up. Other notable participants include former Super Fund site Gary, Indiana; other rustbelt cities like Milwaukee, Wisconsin; as well as Trump’s own native New York City.
The Climate Mayors’ cities are on the forefront of civic resistance not unlike that already seen from sanctuary cities, whose open approach to immigration has already garnered federal ire. Indeed, some cities fall into both categories, such as Los Angeles and San Francisco. While there has been plenty of talk about how sanctuary cities could lose federal funding, it isn’t clear yet how (or if) Trump might try to punish municipalities that take such strong opposition to his decision to withdraw.