It may not be up to President-elect Donald Trump to decide whether or not the US will pull out of the Paris climate agreement, says former New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg.
"I am confident that no matter what happens in Washington, no matter what regulations the next administration adopts or rescinds, no matter what laws the next Congress may pass, we will meet the pledges that the US made in Paris," Bloomberg said in remarks delivered to the China General Chamber of Commerce.
Cities — along with businesses and private citizens — will lead on climate change, because they have "concluded that doing so is in their own self-interest," Bloomberg said.
The US climate-change fight "has never been primarily dependent on Washington," Bloomberg said. Rather, the US has led the world in reducing emissions, despite Congress not passing a "single bill" that takes "direct aim" at climate change, according to Bloomberg.
If Trump does withdraw from the Paris agreement, Bloomberg called for the 128 US mayors that are part of the Global Covenant of Mayors — an initiative chaired by Bloomberg — to join the agreement in place of the federal government.
For his part, Trump walked back claims he made on the campaign trail that climate change is a "hoax" invented by the Chinese to undermine US manufacturing.
Trump said that he believes there is "some connectivity," between human actions and climate change, in a wide-ranging interview with The New York Times on Tuesday. The president-elect also said he's looking at the Paris agreement "very closely" and has an "open mind" to it.>
Bloomberg, however, isn't waiting for Trump to make up his mind.
"Washington will not have the last word on the fate of the Paris agreement in the US," Bloomberg said. "Mayors will, together with business leaders and citizens."
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