Executive Order #017 Enforcement of the Paris Climate Agreement

Modified: June 2, 2017 3:15pm

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For press releases from other years, please click on one of the following links:

Date: 
6/2/17

WHEREAS, there is an overwhelming scientific consensus, including the United States Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the National Academy of Sciences, the United Nations Assessment panel of the world’s climate experts, and others, that the continued buildup of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere threatens the stability of the Earth’s climate;

WHEREAS, there are significant long-term risks to the economy and the environment of the United States from the temperature increases and climatic disruptions that are projected to result from increased greenhouse gas concentrations and the resultant climate change;

WHEREAS, the physical consequences of climate change are already evident, including rising sea levels, increased hurricane intensity, increased winter storm intensity, and species migration;

WHEREAS, in furtherance of a united effort to address the reality and ramifications of climate change, nations of the world assembled in Rio de Janiero in 1992 and proposed the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (“UNFCC”) in an effort to stabilize concentrations of climate-altering gases in the atmosphere, which UNFCC was adopted in 1994, and has since been ratified by 197 nations, including the United States;

WHEREAS, in furtherance of the united effort to address the effects of climate change, in 1997, nations of the world assembled in Kyoto, Japan to modify the UNFCC through the entering into of the Kyoto Protocol on the UNFCC, which the United States was a signatory to, and which committed signatory parties to reduce greenhouse gas emissions;

WHEREAS, in furtherance of the united effort to address the effects of climate change, in 2010 the 16th Session of the Conference of the Parties to the UNFCC met in Cancun, Mexico and recognized that deep cuts in global greenhouse gas emissions were required, with a goal of reducing global greenhouse gas emissions so as to hold the increase in global average temperature below 2°C above pre-industrial levels;

WHEREAS, in furtherance of the united effort to address the effects of climate change, in 2015 the 21st Session of the Conference of the Parties to the UNFCC met in Paris, France and entered into a historic agreement in which 195 nations, including the United States, were signatories and agreed to determine their own target contribution to mitigate climate change by holding the increase in the global average temperature to well below 2 °C above pre-industrial levels and to pursue efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5 °C above pre-industrial levels, among other terms (the “Paris Agreement”);

WHEREAS, in determining its target contribution pursuant to the Paris Agreement, the United States, under the leadership of President Barack Obama, submitted a target contribution plan intending “to achieve an economy-wide target of reducing its greenhouse gas emissions by 26-28 per cent below its 2005 level in 2025 and to make best efforts to reduce its emissions by 28%.”;

WHEREAS, in submitting its target contribution plan to the Paris Agreement the United States further noted “[t]he target plan is fair and ambitious. The United States has already undertaken substantial policy action to reduce its emissions, taking the necessary steps to place us on a path to achieve the 2020 target of reducing emissions in the range of 17 percent below the 2005 level in 2020. Additional action to achieve the 2025 target represents a substantial acceleration of the current pace of greenhouse gas emission reductions. Achieving the 2025 target will require a further emission reduction of 9-11% beyond our 2020 target compared to the 2005 baseline and a substantial acceleration of the 2005-2020 annual pace of reduction, to 2.3-2.8 percent per year, or an approximate doubling;” Substantial global emission reductions are needed to keep the global temperature rise below 2 degrees Celsius, and the 2025 target is consistent with a path to deep decarbonization. This target is consistent with a straight line emission reduction pathway from 2020 to deep, economy-wide emission reductions of 80% or more by 2050. The target is part of a longer range, collective effort to transition to a low-carbon global economy as rapidly as possible.”;

WHEREAS, on June 1, 2017, President Donald J. Trump indicated he would withdraw the United States from the Paris Agreement;

WHEREAS, in withdrawing the United States from the Paris Agreement, the United States would join Nicaragua and Syria as the only nations to not be a party to it;

WHEREAS, the United States is a significant contributor of greenhouse gas emissions, contributing an estimated seventeen and eighty-nine/one hundredths percent of all greenhouse gases emitted in the world;

WHEREAS, responding to the effects of climate change demands international, national, and local action;

WHEREAS, Erie County has a long history of being at the forefront of protecting our environment, whether it be the passage of the first Clean Indoor Air Act in 1996 or the passage of a law in 2015 Prohibiting the Sale of Personal Cosmetic Products Containing Microbeads, which law became the an impetus to and model for the United States Congress passing, and President Barack Obama signing, the Microbead free-Waters Act of 2015;

WHEREAS, Erie County has the responsibility to ensure the safety and security for all its citizens, including in responding to the threat of climate change;

WHEREAS, while President Donald J. Trump may withdraw the United States from the Paris Agreement and the target contribution goals set by the United States, Erie County can take action to ensure its part in protecting the well-being and future of our planet by promulgating a plan to implement the United States target contribution plan to the Paris Agreement, as it pertains to Erie County, and to take such further action as it may by law to enforce the target contribution goals set by the United States within the bounds of the County of Erie, State of New York.

NOW, THEREFORE, I MARK C. POLONCARZ, Erie County Executive, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Erie County Charter §§301 & 302, do hereby order as follows:

1. It is ordered and affirmed that the Department of Environment and Planning, Division of Environmental Compliance, and the Department of Public Works, through its various divisions and the Director of Energy Development and Management, by December 31, 2017, prepare a report to the undersigned promulgating an initial energy usage plan for Erie County to implement the United States target contribution plan to the Paris Agreement, including, but not limited to, achieving a county-wide target of reducing Erie County’s greenhouse gas emissions by twenty-six to twenty-eight percent (26-28%) below its 2005 level in 2025 and to make best efforts to reduce its emissions by twenty-eight percent (28%), as it pertains to the production and/or use of greenhouse gases by Erie County.

2. It is ordered and affirmed that the Department of Environment and Planning, Division of Environmental Compliance, and the Department of Public Works, through its various divisions and the Director of Energy Development and Management, by October 1 of 2018 and every year thereafter, update the initial energy usage plan for Erie County as described in paragraph 1. herein to implement the United States target contribution plan to the Paris Agreement, as it pertains to the production and/or use of greenhouse gases by Erie County for all future years.

3. It is ordered and affirmed that the Department of Environment and Planning, Division of Environmental Compliance, the Department of Public Works, through its various divisions and the Director of Energy Development and Management, and the Erie County Department of Law prepare by December 31, 2017 a report to the undersigned describing what other actions Erie County may take, through local law or other action, including, but not limited to, collaborating with other local governments and private organizations on energy conservation and greenhouse gas emission reductions, to enforce the terms of the Paris Agreement within the bounds of the County of Erie, State of New York.

GIVEN, under my hand and the Privy Seal of the County of Erie in the City of Buffalo this 2nd day of June, in the year two thousand seventeen. County of Erie

By: __________________________ Mark C. Poloncarz Erie County Executive