Gov. Kate Brown said Friday she is confident that Oregon and other progressive states can still meet the Paris climate goals for the U.S. — despite President Donald Trump's decision to pull the country out of the international accord.
The Democratic governor told the City Club of Portland that Oregon will join a coalition of states led by California, Washington and New York working to reduce carbon emissions.
The new coalition was quickly announced after Trump held a White House ceremony Thursday to announce that he would begin the process of pulling out of the 195-nation accord. The president said the accord could hurt the U.S. economy, and he said he would seek to negotiate a better deal.
Brown told reporters after her talk that states representing a significant share of the country’s population and economic activity are ready to step up in the place of the federal government. And she said she was "absolutely" confident they could meet the climate goals laid out in the accord.
"Yes, we can work together and move in that direction to meet the Paris accord agreement goals," Brown said.
California, New York and Washington will chair the U.S. Climate Alliance, which Brown said has been in the works for several months. The group is an outgrowth of several other initiatives at the state and local level to pursue clean energy policies. The alliance plans to seek official status with the countries that have signed on to the Paris agreement.
The governor argued that while Oregon is a relatively small state, it has been a model in showing how to reduce carbon emissions. She noted that the state is moving to eliminate the use of coal in generating electricity and is seeking to reduce the use of fossil fuels in transportation. Local governments are also trying: Portland and Multnomah County leaders both committed this week to shifting to 100 percent renewable energy by 2050.
"Future generations will judge us not on the fact of global climate change," Brown told the City Club, "but on what we do to tackle it."