This post and map were produced by Data-Driven Yale members Angel Hsu, Zev Nicolai-Scanio, Ross Rauber, Yihao Xie, Amy Weinfurter, Tina Huang, Geoffrey Martin, Ryan Thomas, Sophie Janaskie, Franz Hochstrasser, Sabrina Long, and Algol (Ziang) Li.
On June 1 2017, President Trump announced his intention to pull the U.S. out of the Paris Climate Change Agreement. His announcement runs contrary to overwhelming domestic support, among voters in every state in the country, for the U.S. government to remain part of the Agreement. His administration’s stance and reiteration of their intent to withdraw has sparked a flurry of support from states, cities, companies, investors, and universities that have signaled their renewed commitment to tackling climate change and redoubled efforts to meet the Paris Agreement’s global climate goals.
Data-Driven Yale (DDY) has mapped the landscape of these climate actions, showing the more than 500 city and state (subnational) governments, representing nearly half the U.S. population, that have committed to climate action. These subnational jurisdictions are joined by nearly 3,000 U.S. businesses with over $7.7 trillion in revenue and over 700 universities (non-state actors) with a total student population nearing 1 million and a collective endowment of over $250 billion.
This reaction to President Trump’s announcement has invigorated subnational and non-state actors, who have made new commitments and strengthened existing ones.Their pledges aim to address climate change individually and in groups focused on overcoming cross-boundary challenges. These initiatives include the 2014 UN Climate Action Summit hosted by then UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon; the Compact of Mayors (now part of the Global Covenant of Mayors for Climate & Energy); the Compact of States and Regions; CDP Cities; C-40 Cities Climate Leadership Group; ICLEI’s carbonn Climate Registry; Second Natures’ Climate Leadership Network; the Under 2 MOU Coalition; and commitments reflected in the Non-State Actor Zone of Climate Action (NAZCA).
Since Trump’s announcement, a coalition of more than 2,200 states, cities, counties, businesses, universities, civil society organizations and investors has declared “We Are Still In” the Paris Agreement. California Governor Jerry Brown, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo and Washington Governor Jay Inslee launched the United States Climate Alliance, a group of 13 states and Puerto Rico committed to reducing their emissions to levels consistent with the goals of the Paris Agreement. Meanwhile a coalition of more than 350 Climate Mayors, led by Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, Houston’s Sylvester Turner, Knoxville Mayor Rogero, and Boston Mayor Marty Walsh, signed a letter pledging to leverage their coordinated efforts to deliver on the U.S.’s Paris commitment. At the US Conference of Mayors meeting in June, more than 1,400 mayors urged continued federal participation in the Paris Agreement and committed to achieving 100% renewable energy by 2035.
This week marks a key moment for American climate action. Former Secretary of State and U.S. Senator John Kerry kicks off his Kerry Initiative here at the Yale Climate Conference, featuring a dialogue on subnational actions with Governor Jerry Brown of California and Governor Inslee of Washington. Climate Week also begins this week in New York, where international leaders from business, government and civil society will gather to showcase and accelerate global climate action.
Data-Driven Yale has created a map of current U.S. climate action commitments from cities, states, companies, and universities, providing data synthesis and visualization to inform these summits.
View full map here. Data-Driven Yale’s American Climate Action Map shows the range of city, region, state, company, and university climate actions in the United States. Data are compiled from WeAreStillIn, Compact of Mayors, UNFCCC NAZCA, CDP Cities, Climate Mayors, Second Nature, Carbonn, and the Compact of States and Regions. Climate opinion data (legend on right panel) from the Yale Project on Climate Change Communication.
The map includes county-level data on the public perceptions climate change, drawn from the Yale Project on Climate Change Communication’s Climate Opinion Maps. The histograms on the map’s right show the distribution of national responses to questions ranging from one’s belief in global warming, to the level of concern that climate change will affect one personally.
Climate action commitments and public opinion are moving targets, and the map and its underlying analysis reveal several key insights about the current available information about non-state and subnational climate actions:
- Nearly 2,000 companies in the U.S. have set goals to reduce their emissions, ranging from 0.01 to 100 percent of their emissions. 463 have committed to adopting some form of renewable energy; 828 have adopted a carbon price; 1,245 are adopting energy efficiency targets; 10 are using offsets to achieve their climate goals.
- 589 colleges and universities in total are generating 519,762,051 kilowatt hours of renewable electricity, enough to power 41,768 homes in the U.S. for a year. Some have achieved deep emissions reductions, such as the College of the Atlantic in Maine, which has reduced emissions 190 percent from 2008 levels and has committed to be carbon neutral.
- At least one-third of subnational actors have registered actions to reduce their emissions from 10 to 95 percent in sectors ranging from community-wide and government operations, to water, energy supply, transportation, waste, outdoor lighting, and buildings.
- At least 73 subnational actors in the U.S. are committing to using renewable energy as part of their climate pledges; 31 are issuing bonds for low-carbon projects; 28 are increasing energy efficiency as a low-carbon strategy.
- States with emissions totaling 1.8 billion metric tons of CO2 are committed to tackling climate change. Most U.S. states have adopted both short-term (2020) and long-term (2050) reduction targets, ranging from 10 to 80 percent. California boasts the state with the most number of cities and counties taking action, with 97. Florida is the state with the second highest number of subnational actors, with 36. States that have the fewest number of cities taking action include Alaska, Wyoming, Alabama, Kentucky, and Maine, with 1 city each, and North and South Dakota, with no subnational participation.