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CGS leads research on new America's Pledge report

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The new report, Fulfilling America’s Pledge: How States, Cities, and Businesses Are Leading the United States to a Low-Carbon Future, was released at the Global Climate Action (GCAS) summit in San Francisco, CA. The report was co-chaired by Governor Edmund G. Brown, Jr. and UN Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for Climate Action Michael R. Bloomberg.

Nathan Hultman, the Director of the Center for Global Sustainability (CGS) and Associate Professor at the School of Public Policy, served as the co-lead on its development with Paul Bodnar, Managing Director, of the Rocky Mountain Institute.

The launch of Fulfilling America’s Pledge culminates several months of research on the emissions reduction potential of the U.S. real economy actors -- states, cities, and businesses. Led by CGS and supported by the Joint Global Change Research Institute (JGCRI) at the University of Maryland, the report features a first of its kind, innovative bottom-up-top-down modeling approach, which combines a new tool that accounts and aggregates real economy actions and a U.S. version of the Global Change Assessment Model, or GCAM-USA, which is an integrated, economy-wide modeling tool that estimates the overall reduction potential from these actors.

The report demonstrates that the U.S. is tracking to achieve two-thirds of the way to the original U.S. target under the Paris Agreement, without federal engagement. Furthermore, in the best-case-scenario, real economy actors have the potential to reduce emissions by more than 24 percent below 2005 levels by 2025, which can bring the U.S. within striking distance of its 26 percent target.

In spite of the current administration’s effort to stall climate policies, the Fulfilling America’s Pledge report demonstrates the collective strength of real economy actors to bring the U.S. in close range of our Paris commitment. The report provides ten high-impact and near-term opportunity areas that municipalities, businesses, and others can implement in collaboration to continue to take advantage of the economic opportunities, emissions reduction, and improved public health outcomes of taking climate action. These ten opportunity areas were developed in collaboration with industry experts to pinpoint strategies that could be implemented within realistic legal and political limits. Finally, the report will “serve as a blueprint for national climate action, driven from the bottom up” says Bloomberg.

Informed by the Fulfilling America’s Pledge report, the America’s Pledge initiative released the Opportunity Agenda in July 2018. The Opportunity Agenda provides a roadmap for entities to take action in their own economies and jurisdictions, such as accelerating the retirement of coal power, retrofitting buildings and electrifying building energy usage, scaling up the adoption of electric vehicles, and phasing out super polluting hydrofluorocarbons, and more. The goal of the Opportunity Agenda is to catalyze action and intensify engagement by states, cities, and businesses to significantly contribute to the overall U.S. decarbonization pathway over the coming years.

“The America’s Pledge initiative on climate change is an extraordinary phenomenon happening in U.S. climate policy in real time,” said Hultman. “It is not only connecting actors and advancing policy discussions, but also building an analytically grounded understanding of how diverse actors in our federal system are using the policy levers at their disposal to advance actions on climate that they have determined will support a cleaner and more robust economy for their constituents.”

To review the opportunity agenda, click here.

To view the report and its associated technical appendix, click here.

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