When Donald Trump announced his intention to pull the US out of the Paris Agreement, the general consensus was that the world would truck on with emissions reductions regardless. Even here in the US—where leadership at the federal level will certainly be missed—the massive number of states, cities, companies, organizations and individuals who committed to redoubling their climate efforts suggests that we're unlikely to see too much backsliding before a new administration takes over in Washington.
Here's just one case in point: As the New York Times reports, the nine Northeastern states (Connecticut, Massachusetts, New York, Delaware, Maine, Maryland, New Hampshire, Rhode Island and Vermont) that make up the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) have announced an additional 30% reduction in power plant greenhouse gas emissions by 2030, on top of the 40% reduction already achieved since the initiative launched in 2009.
True, 30% by 2030 is not as fast as many of us believe we need to go. But I'm a firm believe that targets are at least as important for the direction of travel they set as they are for the speed at which we get there.
Announcements like this one from RGGI are one more sign among many that investors, Big Energy and policy makers alike would be foolish to bank on any short-term let up of climate regulations as being indicative of more long-term trends.