RALEIGH — Gov. Roy Cooper announced Wednesday that North Carolina will join 14 other states in a bipartisan coalition launched in response to President Trump’s withdrawal from the Paris Agreement.
The group of states, the U.S. Climate Alliance, is committed to reducing their share of the U.S. greenhouse gas emission reduction targets in the Paris Agreement, Cooper’s office said.
“In the absence of leadership from Washington, North Carolina is proud to join the U.S. Climate Alliance, and we remain committed to reducing pollution and protecting our environment,” Cooper said in a statement. “Clean air and a healthy environment are vital for a strong economy and a healthier future. So much of North Carolina’s economy relies on protecting our treasured natural resources, and I’m committed to maintaining the quality of their air we breathe for generations to come.”
In addition to North Carolina, the alliance includes California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New York, Oregon, Puerto Rico, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia and Washington.
In addition, the U.S. Climate Alliance released in a new report Wednesday that the members are collectively on track to meet and possibly exceed their portion of the U.S. commitment.
According to the report, Climate Alliance states are on track to reach a 24 to 29 percent reduction in emissions by 2025, fulfilling their contribution to the Paris Agreement targets. Between 2005 and 2015 Alliance states reduced greenhouse gas emissions by 15 percent, compared to a 10 percent reduction by the rest of the country.
During that same decade, the combined economic output of Alliance states grew by 14 percent as the rest of the country grew by 12 percent. On a per capita basis, economic output in Alliance states expanded twice as fast as in the rest of the country, showing that climate action and economic growth go hand in hand, according to Cooper’s statement.
Cooper recently signed into law House Bill 589, Competitive Energy Solutions for North Carolina, which his office said would roughly double North Carolina’s solar generation during the next four years.
The statement noted that North Carolina has also risen to No. 2 nationally for installed solar capacity and is home to more than 34,000 clean energy jobs because of a range of state policies, including the N.C. Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Portfolio Standard, or REPS. REPS requires investor-owned electric utilities to source 12.5 percent of their energy needs through renewable energy or energy-efficiency measures by 2021.