The Trump administration is expected to announce plans to withdraw from the Paris Climate Agreement right about now. The headline implications of this are on the surface, hard to fathom. Run-away climate change will cause immeasurable suffering and economic decline. If this move leads other countries to back away from their commitments, we could lose what may have been the very last-minute last change we had to avoid really devastating climate impacts.
On the other hand, much of the rest of the world, and much of the US will not let this ill-considered move slow them down. In fact it could help us all redouble our efforts.
In the US, leading companies, cities, states, colleges and universities, faith groups, and others see the benefits of accelerating the transition to a low-carbon economy. The market forces are there. By giving up our leadership role, the US may miss some opportunities, but others will take advantage of them.
The Low-Carbon USA initiative has been tracking businesses and cities committed to creating a sustainable future. Recently our friends at Second Nature looped in the colleges and universities that we have been working with on this for 10 years -- with over 600 committed to carbon neutrality, and making great strides in that direction.
Groups like the Climate Leadership Council, conservative Republicans, and the Citizens Climate Lobby are working to enact smart carbon fee and dividend programs. States like Mass and California are considering ways to advance and expand their carbon pricing initiatives. With long-standing leadership from the likes of Michael Bloomberg, mayors and cities have been working on these issues, and aren't going to stop.
world's largest asset owners are taking action on climate risk and moving to greener investments. At the Intentional Endowments Network we're supporting endowments in keeping up with this trend.
While the climate challenge requires all oars rowing in sync -- and Trump's rowing backwards will hurt Americans, our children, and people everywhere -- my message to the rest of the world would be that the US is still with you, and we will now accelerate our work to address the climate crisis. We have no other choice.