Editor’s note: In late January, after this story was produced and distributed to radio stations, the governors of Illinois and New Mexico joined the U.S. Climate Alliance, bringing the total number of members to 19. In the transcript below, the sentences marked with asterisks have been updated to reflect those changes.

Climate Alliance states map

President Trump has said that the U.S. will pull out of the Paris climate agreement, but the governors of 18 states and Puerto Rico have banded together to continue working towards the agreement’s goals.*

Cerqueira: “And by being leaders on climate change, they’ve been able to actually reduce their emissions faster than the rest of the country while also growing their economies faster.”

That’s Julie Cerqueira of the U.S. Climate Alliance. She says member states commit to reaching their share of the Paris climate goals. The Alliance then helps the states coordinate their efforts.

Cerqueira: “They’ve been able to actually come together to look at how, collectively, they can really transform the U.S. economy in ways that accelerate and scale up climate action.”

By working together, the states create market pressure.

For example, several states recently pledged to phase out climate-warming chemicals called HFC’s, often used in refrigerators and air conditioners. That’s helping to motivate the manufacturers to make changes.

All together, the states in the Climate Alliance have a nearly $10 trillion economy, so Cerqueira says they are helping the country make progress on the Paris goals, even in the absence of national action.*

Reporting credit: Daisy Simmons/ChavoBart Digital Media.
Image credit: Wikipedia