Since Donald Trump declared that he was withdrawing the United States from the Paris Agreement, elected officials around the country have been engaged in something they usually try to avoid: serious conversation about climate change. In fact, the leaders of 300-plus U.S. cities and 22 states have now pledged to uphold the goals of the global climate deal.
This unlikely behavior follows a presidential election where climate change received virtually no attention — just 82 seconds during the debates, which was actually an improvement on the 2012 debates. Despite the positive trend of recent weeks, however, climate change is still quite far from being a campaign issue for most politicians. For their part, climate activists have tended to avoid making it one, rallying around specific issues rather than candidates.