Trump Pulls US From Paris Climate Agreement


President Trump announced on Thursday, June 1, that he will be removing the United States from the Paris Climate Agreement, an act which will probably unfold over the course of the next four years. Misunderstanding the way international agreements get their names (indeed, the treaty that ended the Revolutionary War was named the Treaty of Paris), the president stated as justification that he “was elected to represent the citizens of Pittsburgh, not Paris”. It would appear that Trump failed on that account as well. The mayor of Pittsburgh quickly issued a statement confirming the city's commitment to the Paris Accords and to the sustainable future of the environment.

Every country in the world has joined the Paris Climate Agreement except Syria, Nicaragua (they have higher standards), and now the United States. The accords aim to prevent global warming above 2°C, to “[increase] the ability to adapt to the adverse impacts of climate change”, and to make alternative energy sources affordable, beginning impacts in 2020.

By pulling out of the Paris Agreement, President Trump has abdicated the US’ role as a world leader in the battle to deal with climate change, leaving countries like Russia and China to fill the void. This may prove to be a fairly unpopular move; one Yale study found that a majority of Americans in every state support the Paris Agreement.

Trump's statements prompted an immediate response from state and local governments across the country. The governors of New York, Washington, and California announced the formation of the United States Climate Alliance. Governor Jerry Brown of California said, “If the President is going to be AWOL in this profoundly important human endeavor, then California and other states will step up.” The states in the alliance remain committed to the standards of the Paris Agreement and will try to assist climate programs. The governors of Oregon, Massachusetts, Colorado, Hawaii, Connecticut, Virginia, and Rhode Island have also reportedly pledged to follow the Paris Agreement climate standards. Individual cities have demonstrated support for the Paris Agreement as well, including Pittsburgh, Los Angeles, and New Orleans. In Boston and New York, major monuments were lit in green light to show support.

Individuals have responded as well: Tesla CEO Elon Musk has left the President’s Council; actor Leonardo DiCaprio - who met with President Trump earlier on this subject - has released a statement saying that the president has “threatened...the future livability of our planet”; and former news anchor Dan Rather has called this “a reckless and intemperate action … not based on science or reason.”