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PA Treasurer Calls Paris Accord Withdrawal ‘Foolish & Shortsighted,’ Vows to Continue to Take Action

The show of commitment from local and state governments to continue to fight climate change continues today with Pennsylvania Treasurer Joe Torsella’s open letter to the international community, stating that “the decision to withdraw from the Paris climate accord was one of the most foolish and shortsighted actions taken by the Trump Administration thus far,” Torsella wrote. “Climate change represents a catastrophic threat to Pennsylvania if we do not take action. But it also represents a chance to make wise investments that help avoid disaster and bring returns to taxpayers.”

In related news today, Environmental Leader reported that German Chancellor Angela Merkel spoke on behalf of the Group of 20 (G20), saying that the Paris accord agreement to keep temperature increases to no more than 2 degrees Celsius by mid century “unstoppable.” Global companies and especially those technology-oriented enterprises based in the United States are moving forward to cut their carbon emissions. It’s not just boosting their brands, it’s also saving them money, G20 indicates.

In another open letter to the international community last month, more than 1,200 businesses, universities and colleges, investors, governors and mayors officially declared that “We are still in” on the Paris Climate Agreement. The declaration represents $6.2 trillion of the US economy and 120 million Americans. The leaders that signed the letter represent the “broadest cross section of the American economy yet assembled in pursuit of climate action,” according to the letter, and they have declared their intent to “continue to ensure the US remains a global leader in reducing carbon emissions.” Signatories include representatives of over 900 businesses and investors, including 20 Fortune 500 companies like Apple, eBay, Gap Inc., Google, Intel, Microsoft and Nike. Nine states, 125 cities, and 183 colleges and universities are also included.

More recently, the US Conference of Mayors announced it will be working with the private sector to try and achieve the goals of the climate accord to keep temperature increases to no more than 2 degrees Celsius by mid century. An overwhelming number of mayors from a cross section of America’s cities are on board — both Republican and Democrat – saying that they face first hand the challenges posed by a changing climate and rising temperatures.

In Pennsylvania, the Treasury Department has partnered with the Foundation for Renewable Energy and Environment to establish PennSEF, which promotes energy and water efficiency, clean energy generation, economic development and environment improvement. The PennSEF program provides technical and legal assistance along with access to low-cost capital for projects undertaken by municipalities, universities, schools and hospitals.

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