The U.S. government obviously isn't going to be taking a global leadership role regarding climate change, not for the next four years. At one time, that would have been the end of the story: the only way to accomplish anything internationally was through national governments. But we live in a different world today, and there are other channels for international action against climate change. Today, transnational networks of state and local governments, private firms, and NGOs are actively addressing climate change and other environmental problems, with or without the help of their national governments.
The Under2 MOU is a great example outside of the formal framework of international law. Here are the key facts:
The Under2 Coalition is a diverse group of governments around the world who set ambitious targets to combat climate change. Central to the Under2 MOU (Memorandum of Understanding) is an agreement from all signatories to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions 80 to 95 percent below 1990 levels, or limit to 2 annual metric tons of CO2-equivalent per capita, by 2050. A total of 167 jurisdictions spanning 33 countries and six continents have signed or endorsed the Under2 MOU. Together, the Under2 Coalition represents 1.09 billion people and $25.9 trillion in GDP, equivalent to over a third of the global economy.
Here's a list of the U.S. signatories: Austin, California, Connecticut, Los Angeles, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Hampshire, New York City, New York, Oakland, Oregon, Portland, ...