Downtown Los Angeles from the Griffith Observatory. Photo by John Schreiber.

Faced with the possibility of President Donald Trump withdrawing the United States from the landmark Paris climate agreement, Los Angeles leaders want the city to adopt the accord’s stipulations.

With Mayor Eric Garcetti’s backing, Councilman Mike Bonin has introduced a motion that would direct the city’s departments to adhere to the Paris agreement as official policy, regardless of Trump’s decision.

“Today’s latest news, that we are pulling out of the Paris climate accords — I think we are one of three countries, joining Syria. Someone even pointed out that North Korea signed it. We’re pulling out of it today,” Garcetti said during remarks at the City Council meeting Wednesday recognizing LGBT Heritage Month.

“Well, ladies and gentlemen, Mike and I have talked about it, and we are going to adopt those standards right here in Los Angeles because we have the power to do so,” Garcetti said.

The Paris Agreement was signed by 195 countries in 2015 and set a goal of curbing greenhouse gas emissions, along with keeping a global rise this century well below 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels and to limit the temperature increase even further to 1.5 degrees Celsius.

Under the agreement, every country submitted a plan to lower greenhouse emissions and agreed to meet regularly and share progress. The agreement is nonbinding and countries are allowed to adjust their plans depending on their domestic situation, with peer pressure from other countries being the primary motivating factor.

Former President Barack Obama promised to cut greenhouse gasses 26 to 28 percent below 2005 levels by 2025 and commit $3 billion in aid to poorer countries. If the United States withdraws, it will join Syria and Nicaragua as the only countries not to participate in the agreement.

During his campaign for the presidency, Trump promised to withdraw the from the agreement. He has called global warming a hoax aimed at hurting the U.S. economy. He also said the agreement would cost the U.S. economy trillions of dollars with little in return.

Trump has not yet made an official decision to withdraw from the pact, telling reporters Wednesday they will find out soon.

The motion introduced by Bonin does not explain how Los Angeles will hold to the Paris Agreement, but the city’s has already pledged to reduce greenhouse emissions by 80 percent by 2050 and for the Department of Power and Water to be coal-free by 2025.

“In the face of backwards and dangerous decisions by the Trump administration, Los Angeles must lead the way toward a brighter, cleaner and more sustainable future,” Bonin said.

“Climate change is literally an existential threat, and even if the federal government decides to back out of the Paris climate agreement, L.A. will not be dissuaded or distracted from our responsibility to reduce our climate pollution and show that we can thrive as a city by investing in sustainability,” he said.

–City News Service

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