Amid all of the election news this week, it is plausible that you might have missed the important climate milestone.
On November 4, 2020 the United States officially withdrew from the Paris Climate Agreement.
You might remember President Trump announcing his decision to do this several years ago in 2017. The way the agreement was crafted, though, the US could not officially leave before November 2020.
Today the US is the only nation that has walked away from the global efforts to address climate change.
Trump’s announcement that the US would withdraw came about a year after Dane County Executive Joe Parisi’s announcement creating the Office of Energy and Climate Change. Our Office began operations, though, in 2017, the same year as Trump's announcement. The County Executive created our office in part to respond to the lack of action on climate change at other levels of government. As he states frequently, Executive Parisi knows climate change is a real threat to our communities. For Parisi, responsible leadership means addressing issues head on.
More, we know that accelerating action on climate can deliver substantial economic benefits—that our communities will thrive by embracing a clean energy future.
Trump’s 2017 announcement prompted responses from lots of local governments, businesses and other entities. Thousands of groups—including Dane County—signed onto We Are Still In, a commitment to fulfill the Paris Climate Agreement, with or without help from the US federal government.
Since 2017, our Office has facilitated the creation of an ambitious Climate Action Plan while also supporting and celebrating clean energy initiatives both within county government and across our broader communities. Our Clean Energy Map celebrates more than 100 renewable energy installations in the county. We routinely share success stories from local entities and we’ll soon announce our first cadre of Climate Champions, entities that are leading on one or more climate solutions.
So, yes, We Are Still In and, yes, we are getting things done. Our efforts—which deliver economic and health benefits alongside the environmental gains—can be an example for others.
Like many others across the US, Dane County is still in and we encourage you to be still in too. Check out our What You Can Do page for resources and strategies that can help your business, your local government or even hour household reduce emissions and be part of the solution. Together, Dane County.
Kathy is the Acting Director in the Dane County’s Office of Energy and Climate Change. In that role she's leading efforts to implement the Climate Action Plan. Prior to coming to Dane County, Kathy led Cool Choices and, prior to that, she led Wisconsin's Focus on Energy program.
The Dane County Office of Energy & Climate Change maintains this blog as a way to offer:
To be sure that you don't miss new blog entries, subscribe to our email updates.