House Speaker Nancy Pelosi arrives for a press conference at the COP25 climate talks in Madrid last week.
CNN  — 

President Donald Trump’s move to begin pulling out of the Paris Agreement last month signaled to world leaders that the US government is stepping away from the global push to stop the climate crisis.

But as world leaders gather in Madrid this week to refine their pledges to cut heat-trapping gases, a large group of US cities, states, universities and businesses remain committed to holding global warming below 2 degrees Celsius.

Their message to the world? That the US is still fighting to avoid the worst consequences of climate change.

And despite the policies of this administration, a new report shows that this broad coalition is significantly reducing US greenhouse gas emissions and even deeper cuts are possible with or without federal help.

The report titled “Accelerating America’s Pledge” finds that policies already in place by state, local and business actors can reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 25% by 2030 compared to 2005 levels.

This current coalition of the willing represents 68% of US gross domestic product, which would make it the world’s second largest economy, second to only the US economy itself, according to the report.

“We can say to the international community, ‘Hey, you guys hear a lot about what’s not happening in the US, but what you might not know is that there is a tremendous amount of activity that can actually make a difference in terms of overall US emissions,’” said Nate Hultman, director of the Center for Global Sustainability at the University of Maryland and the lead author of the report.

The authors of the report – which was produced by the “America’s Pledge” initiative led by Democratic presidential candidate Michael Bloomberg and former California Gov. Jerry Brown – found that even more significant cuts are possible with further shifts toward renewable energy, improved efficiency in buildings and transportation, and protection of forests and other carbon-storing ecosystems.

If state and local governments along with the private sector further enhanced their climate commitments, overall US emissions could fall even further by 37% by 2030, the study found.

But the report shows that to get the US within striking distance of its Paris Agreement goals, executive and legislative action will be required.

Mixed messages from the US on climate change

The report comes as state and local actors try to carry on the fight to halt climate change without federal support and reflects both the potential and limits of this current bifurcated US climate policy.

At this week’s United Nations’ 25th Conference of Parties (COP25) in Madrid – where countries are attempting to iron out more aggressive commitments to slash emissions of planet-warming gases – there is an interesting dynamic at play, with two groups representing US interests on the ground.