BOSTON (AP) — The governors of four New England states — including two Republicans — are joining a bipartisan coalition of states committed to meeting the goals of the Paris Climate Agreement.
The move comes a day after Republican President Donald Trump announced he is withdrawing the United States from the agreement, a pact involving nearly 200 nations aimed at slowing the warming of the planet.
Massachusetts Republican Gov. Charlie Baker said Friday he decided to partner with other states to combat climate change after speaking with Vermont Republican Gov. Phil Scott and New York Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo.
He said Massachusetts will continue its commitment to exceed the emission reduction targets of the Paris compact. In 2008, Massachusetts lawmakers passed a law requiring the state to reduce its carbon emissions by at least 80 percent below 1990 levels by 2050.
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“Our administration looks forward to continued, bipartisan collaboration with other states to protect the environment, grow the economy and deliver a brighter future to the next generation,” Baker said in a statement.
Earlier on Friday Baker — who didn’t support Trump during last year’s campaign and didn’t vote for him — said he didn’t think Trump’s decision to withdraw from the agreement was the right thing for the country or the world.
Scott said Friday that Vermont also is joining the U.S. Climate Alliance to uphold the Paris climate agreement, which was started by the Democratic governors of California, New York and Washington.
Scott called Vermont a leader in environmental policy and natural resource management and said Trump’s decision to withdraw from the agreement “only strengthens our commitment and makes the work of states more important.”
“If our national government isn’t willing to lead in this area,” Scott said, “the states are prepared to step up.”
Baker and Scott last month urged Trump to continue the U.S. commitment to the climate agreement. The two wrote a letter to Energy Secretary Rick Perry saying that maintaining the commitment to the agreement and to U.S. leadership on climate change will help protect future generations.
Connecticut Gov. Dannel P. Malloy and Rhode Island Gov. Gina Raimondo — both Democrats — also are joining the alliance.
Malloy said that Connecticut is “a national leader in combatting climate change” and has no intention of slowing efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
Raimondo said Friday that Trump’s action will not deter Rhode Island from taking the steps needed to address climate change.
“Republicans and Democrats alike recognize that the Paris Agreement is about so much more than climate change,” Raimondo said. “It’s about opportunity, stewardship and America’s standing as a global leader.”
Trump formally announced his decision to leave the historic international agreement Thursday after promising to take the action during last year’s campaign. He criticized the pact as a job-killer that put the United States at an unfair advantage.
It may be years before the country can formally exit the deal, but Trump said he’ll immediately halt implementation. He said he would consider re-entry if the U.S. could get a better deal.
Republican politicians and representatives of the coal industry have cheered Trump’s action.