California Gov. Jerry Brown and former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg have announced a new U.S. carbon emission-cutting initiative in response to President Donald Trump's withdrawal of the country from the Paris Agreement, according to Curbed.
The America's Pledge program will measure carbon emissions produced by U.S. cities, states and businesses independent of the federal government in an effort to comply with the terms of the previous agreement.
The U.S. originally pledged to reduce carbon emissions between 26% and 28% from 2005 levels by 2025, and America's Pledge aims to maintain that goal. The Rocky Mountain Institute and the World Resources Institute will analyze data submissions from participating entities in order to determine how well the country stays on pace for carbon emission reduction.
Trump's announcement of his intentions to withdraw from the Paris Agreement sparked strong pushback from critics who said the move would exacerbate existing environmental problems. One industry group, the American Institute of Architects, issued a formal statement in opposition soon after the announcement, reiterating its commitment to conservation and renewable energy.
The AEC industry as a whole represents a host of organizations that have expressed a desire to continue with their goals of cutting carbon emissions. In the run-up to the COP21 international climate talks, more than 50 AEC companies — including Skanska, Autodesk and Thornton Tomasetti — signed the Building and Real Estate Climate Declaration. This statement focuses on the link between climate change and the built environment, which is responsible for 39% of carbon emissions in the U.S. each year. The declaration also highlights the possible economic benefits of fighting climate change.
The nonprofit Architecture 2030 has developed its own initiative to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, the 2030 Challenge, to which the AIA responded with its 2030 Commitment. The programs have a goal of completely carbon-neutral construction and renovations by the year 2030.
In an October update, however, the AIA said the building industry has not kept up with the 2030 Commitment's objectives. Only 4% of projects so far have met the building performance target of 70% energy savings for 2015 building performance.