As speculation swirled over the White House's position on the landmark Paris climate agreement this week, a trio of determined governors had a few messages for the president.
"There's nothing Donald Trump can do in our states to stop us from advancing our policies," said Washington Gov. Jay Inslee.
"We are on track to meet the Paris accord," said California Gov. Jerry Brown. "This is America speaking."
To the chorus, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo added, "You don't get great going backward."
Accompanied by former Secretary of State John Kerry, who steered the U.S. negotiations on Paris, the governors unveiled a new report on Wednesday from the U.S. Climate Alliance, the group they formed after President Trump announced he would withdraw from the historic climate agreement. (Only two other countries haven't signed the agreement, and Nicaragua media reported this week that their country's president plans to do so. If that happens, it would leave Syria and the United States alone in rejecting it if Trump pulls out.)
The U.S. Climate Alliance now represents 14 states and Puerto Rico, with the latest inclusion of North Carolina. Collectively, they are equivalent to the world's third-largest economy and account for more than 36 percent of the U.S. population. Each member has agreed to meet the U.S. commitments under the Paris climate deal.
The report's main finding: These states are on track to hit a 24 to 29 percent cut in greenhouse gas emissions below 2005 levels by 2025, roughly in line with the U.S. Paris pledge that Trump has disavowed. From 2005 to 2015, the states in the alliance had already cut their greenhouse gas emissions by 15 percent, the report said, while their economic output grew 14 percent.
"We have exploded the myth that you can't defeat climate change and grow your economy at the same time," Inslee said. "It's not a coincidence that our economies are doing well. It's a consequence of what we're doing to develop clean energy technology."