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MT joins climate alliance, commits to Paris agreement

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Big Sky Connection

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Eric Tegethoff

July 5, 2019

HELENA, Montana - Gov. Steve Bullock has committed Montana to reducing carbon emissions alongside 23 other states. 

The Treasure State has joined the 
U.S. Climate Alliance, a group of states and Puerto Rico that has committed to the climate goals of the 2015 Paris Agreement, despite the Trump administration's decision to pull out of the global deal. 

U.S. targets from the Paris Agreement are a reduction in carbon emissions of 26% to 28% of 2005 levels over the next six years. 

Julie Cerqueira, executive director of the U.S. Climate Alliance, says Montana's place within the alliance is unique.

"The interesting thing is Montana is more politically conservative than most other alliance states, and so they have a unique opportunity to develop Montana-based solutions that are going to resonate with leaders and constituents across the political spectrum," she states.

There also is urgency in the state to tackle climate change. According to recent data, western Montana is warming at twice the global rate, and iconic landscapes such as the glaciers of Glacier National Park have shrunk by as much as 85% over the last 50 years.

In addition to joining the alliance, Bullock has created the Montana Climate Solutions Council, which will develop strategies on how to make the state carbon neutral by 2035. 

The council also will explore how to address the needs of communities as the state transitions to renewable energy. 

Cerqueira says Bullock has highlighted working with farmers and ranchers on land-based solutions and notes that he'll have a resource in the climate alliance, which has a working group focused on this.

"With NGO partners that are providing policy, technical and analytical assistance to states to help them develop their climate action plans that incorporate natural climate solutions, and so that working group is already there for Montana to easily plug into," she explains.

The Climate Alliance, formed in June 2017, now represents 55% of the population and 40% of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions.



 

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