RALEIGH, North Carolina (WTVD) -- Governor Roy Cooper has declared that North Carolina will join other governors, mayors, and businesses in continuing to support the global Paris Agreement to reduce pollution.
In an open letter to the international community, more than 1,000 people signed to agree that they are "still in to provide the leadership necessary to meet our Paris commitment."
"Pulling out of the Paris Accord is wrong for our country, our children, and the generations to come," Governor 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."
In signing the letter, Cooper pointed to North Carolina's long tradition of working for a healthier environment and for improved public health.
Bipartisan efforts like the Clean Smokestacks Act, Renewable Energy, and Energy Efficiency Portfolio Standard made North Carolina a national model for reducing air pollution and a national leader in solar energy.
Legal battles fought by then-Attorney General Cooper forced polluters including the Tennessee Valley Authority to clean up their emissions when the federal government would not.
"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.
The Governors of California, Connecticut, Oregon, New York, Rhode Island, Virginia, Washington, and Hawaii also signed the letter.
That letter read:
We, the undersigned mayors, governors, college and university leaders, businesses, and investors are joining forces for the first time to declare that we will continue to support climate action to meet the Paris Agreement.
In December 2015 in Paris, world leaders signed the first global commitment to fight climate change. The landmark agreement succeeded where past attempts failed because it allowed each country to set its own emission reduction targets and adopt its own strategies for reaching them. In addition, nations - inspired by the actions of local and regional governments, along with businesses - came to recognize that fighting climate change brings significant economic and public health benefits.
The Trump administration's announcement undermines a key pillar in the fight against climate change and damages the world's ability to avoid the most dangerous and costly effects of climate change. Importantly, it is also out of step with what is happening in the United States.
In the U.S., it is local and state governments, along with businesses, that are primarily responsible for the dramatic decrease in greenhouse gas emissions in recent years. Actions by each group will multiply and accelerate in the years ahead, no matter what policies Washington may adopt.
In the absence of leadership from Washington, states, cities, colleges, and universities, businesses and investors, representing a sizeable percentage of the U.S. economy will pursue ambitious climate goals, working together to take forceful action and to ensure that the U.S. remains a global leader in reducing emissions.
It is imperative that the world know that in the U.S., the actors that will provide the leadership necessary to meet our Paris commitment are found in city halls, state capitals, colleges and universities, investors and businesses. Together, we will remain actively engaged with the international community as part of the global effort to hold warming to well below 2C and to accelerate the transition to a clean energy economy that will benefit our security, prosperity, and health.