Yesterday (June 1) President Donald Trump (R) made what many—from states and cities to environmental advocates, and more—are calling a terrible decision, to withdraw the US from the Paris Climate Agreement. It’s a controversial move that makes the US a pariah in the international community as it is the only country that has reversed its decision and makes it only one of three countries that are not in agreement with the accord to reduce the impacts of climate change. The other two are Syria and Nicaragua.
In making his decision Trump said he would seek to renegotiate the terms of the Paris Agreement and that it disadvantaged the US and could cost US jobs something that’s not proven true as renewable energy is creating millions of jobs in the US. He also contended that the world’s other major polluters like China and India are able to continue building coal plants under the agreement. However both India and China are quickly adding in renewable energy and abandoning efforts to bring online previously planned coal-fired power plants.
"This will be the day that the United States resigned as the leader of the free world," said CNN host Fareed Zakaria. He hosts the eponymous Fareed Zakaria GPS.
Despite his decision numerous states and cities across the country have vowed to adhere to the agreement. Already Massachusetts, Colorado, Hawaii, Connecticut, Virginia, Rhode Island, New York, Washington state and California have vowed to uphold their commitment to the agreement and United States Conference of Mayors has expressed strong opposition to the controversial announcement.
“Climate change is one of the greatest threats to our coastal communities, nation and world, and we need coordinated action at all levels of government to meet the scale of its challenge,” said New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu (D), USCM vice president. “Here in Louisiana, we face a triple threat: subsidence, coastal erosion and sea level rise. If unchecked, New Orleans, like many coastal cities, will cease to exist. A federal withdrawal from the Paris Agreement is shortsighted and will be devastating to Americans in the long run. We need to work together to transition to a low-carbon economy that not only helps manage our climate risk, but also creates new businesses, jobs, and wealth. Cities need to keep our commitment to our communities and to each other. The U.S. Conference of Mayors stands with thousands of mayors on the front lines and will continue to fight at the local level for global impact.”
Others also expressed anger at Trump’s decision. “The Paris Agreement constitutes humanity’s best effort to put a global governance mechanism in place to address the global climate change threat. It is and will remain an unprecedented achievement by nations who have shown the political will to jointly tackle the unprecedented challenge that global warming presents,” contended Rocky Mountain Institute CEO Jules Kortenhorst. “The withdrawal of the United States will significantly undermine these efforts, as the US is the leading emitter of greenhouse gases per capita. However, we are confident that the Paris Agreement will endure.”
"Withdrawing from the Paris Climate Agreement is analogous to 'cutting off one's nose to spite one's face’,” asserted Carol Werner, executive director of the Environmental and Energy Study Institute (EESI). “Such action cedes global leadership to China and Europe, which are announcing their plans to jointly step up their roles. It also flies in the face of the many cities, states, and companies across the country that are committed to moving forward on clean energy, resilience and adaptation because that is what makes sense economically. And Trump's action ignores the majority of Americans across the country who have consistently supported the Paris Climate Agreement and who want the United States to take more action and leadership on climate change. This action does not make America great.”
“Pulling out of the Paris agreement is bad for business, plain and simple,” said Bob Keefe, Environmental Entrepreneurs (E2’s) executive director, which represents nearly 300 members. “If President Trump truly cares about jobs and our economy, he would be foolish to pull out.”
The process to withdraw from the Paris Agreement will take time, at least until 2020. At that point Trump will be up for reelection.Tweet