RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN/AP) – North Carolina will work to reduce pollution in support of the Paris Agreement, Gov. Roy Cooper announced Tuesday.
Cooper’s announcement comes after President Donald Trump said he is withdrawing the United States from the Paris compact, an agreement involving nearly 200 nations aimed at slowing the warming of the planet.
“Pulling out of the Paris Accord is wrong for our country, our children, and the generations to come,” Cooper said. “North Carolina’s commitment to clean air and a healthy environment will remain a priority despite the lack of forward thinking leadership from the current Administration.”
Cooper signed an open letter to the international community that signaled “We Are Still In…to provide the leadership necessary to meet our Paris commitment.”
“North Carolina knows that clean air and energy innovation are good for our economy and health, and we’re committed to continuing to lead in this area even if Washington isn’t,” Cooper said.
Cooper’s Office pointed to bipartisan efforts in the state like the Clean Smokestacks Act and the Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Portfolio Standard that have helped North Carolina reduce air pollution and take a lead in solar energy.
The governors of California, Connecticut, Oregon, New York, Rhode Island, Virginia, Washington, and Hawaii also signed the letter.
Following Trump’s announcement, Vice President Mike Pence said the deal would have cost taxpayers billions of dollars.
“In a very real sense, it was a transfer of wealth from the most powerful economy in the world to other countries around the planet,” Pence said.
Scientists say Earth is likely to reach more dangerous levels of warming sooner as a result of the president’s decision because America’s pollution contributes so much to rising temperatures.
Calculations suggest withdrawal from the Paris accord could result in emissions of up to 3 billion tons of additional carbon dioxide a year — enough to melt ice sheets faster, raise seas higher and trigger more extreme weather.
While Trump and Pence have suggested the possibility of renegotiating the agreement, the leaders of Italy, Germany and France have said that won’t happen.
CBS North Carolina will update this story as it develops.