Cuomo says NY will abide by Paris accord

Andrew Cuomo

ALBANY — New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo says New York will continue to abide by the Paris climate accord regardless of President Donald Trump's decision to pull out of the landmark 190-nation agreement to reduce carbon emissions.

The Democrat said Thursday that the Republican president's decision is "reckless" and harmful for the nation and the planet.

He says he will use executive orders to ensure the state does not abandon its efforts to boost renewable energy while reducing emissions tied to climate change.

Cuomo also says he and the governors of California and Washington state will lead a new alliance of states supporting the Paris agreement.

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio also vowed to use executive orders to ensure his city continues to "honor the goals" of the climate deal.

Dozens of states and many cities have policies intended to reduce emissions of greenhouses gases and deal with the effects of rising temperatures. And plans for more are in the works. In left-leaning locales, it's good politics. Even in red states where resistance is strong to the idea that humans are causing the planet to heat up, flood prevention and renewable energy are considered smart business.

A look at what states and cities are doing about climate change and their potential to fill in if the Trump administration drops out:

STATES STEP UP

Even as more than two dozen states filed lawsuits that hamstrung the Obama administration's Clean Power Plan, which sought to limit carbon dioxide emissions from power plants, many states have made considerable progress toward hitting its targets. Forty states are on track to meet their 2030 goals under the plan, according to the Environmental Protection Agency. Thirty-five already comply with interim requirements for 2022, in part because utilities decided to close coal-fired plants and switch to natural gas.

Twenty-nine states and Washington, D.C., require electric utilities to produce specified amounts of electricity from renewable or alternative sources such as wind, solar and geothermal power, according to the nonprofit Center for Climate and Energy Solutions. California and New York have ordered their utilities to deliver half their electricity from renewables by 2030.

Most states also have "climate action plans" packed with ideas on topics as diverse as land use, transportation and land management. California is encouraging ownership of electric cars with tax breaks and access to high-speed lanes.

CITIES FOCUS ON ADAPTING

Many cities are big enough to make a difference with emissions limits. Mayor Rahm Emanuel announced in April that all of Chicago's public buildings would be powered entirely with renewable energy by 2025. Others are stepping up use of public transit.

Other cities acknowledge the climate is already warming and are preparing to deal with the effects, particularly flooding and powerful storms. In conservative areas where climate change is a toxic subject, officials often describe their efforts with terms such as "resilience" and "adaptation." They are constructing break waters, improving sewage treatment systems to avoid overflows and encouraging use of rain gardens and other "green infrastructure."

Charleston, South Carolina, is recommending that all planned construction assume a sea level rise of 1.5 to 2.5 feet over the next 50 years.

Florida is especially vulnerable to sea level rise, yet the state has taken little action. Cities have tried to fill the void. Under a regional compact, Miami and surrounding areas have worked to gird homes, roads and infrastructure against flooding.