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A New Hope for US Climate Action

Non-federal US actors – from state governments to private businesses – have laid a strong foundation for effective climate action, and continue to drive important progress. But to achieve the necessary economic transformation as quickly as required, US political leaders will also need to step up.

BOULDER, COLORADO – The United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP25) currently taking place in Madrid is supposed to prepare the ground for more ambitious national climate commitments. Nowhere is this more important than in the country where national leadership on climate change is least likely: the United States.

But a new report should give the world hope that it’s not too late to keep the US on a path in line with global aspirations to avoid the most catastrophic effects of climate change. This will require continued leadership from US states, cities, and businesses that are already stepping up, combined with reinvigorated action from the federal government.

The US is the world’s second-largest emitter of greenhouse gases, and was the largest overall emitter for decades. Although China surpassed it in 2006, America’s cumulative emissions remain unmatched. And yet, far from leading the way on climate action, the US under President Donald Trump’s administration has rolled back many federal climate and environmental rules and formally indicated its intention to withdraw from the 2015 Paris climate agreement by late next year.

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