Some of the world’s most respected environmental organizations have spoken out about President Trump’s globally derided decision to pull out of the Paris Climate Agreement.
Gregory Lopez, Director of the Climate Program at the Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation, said:
“During his speech, the President took the time to speak several falsehoods and spew divisive rhetoric against the Agreement, and climate change at-large. This included false numbers of a nosediving economy that would lose jobs if the implementation of the Paris Agreement went forward.
“The Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation pledges our full support to science and truth. Despite a demand to exit by our President, we, along with other U.S. organizations, companies, and subnational governments, will do our part to uphold the Paris Agreement and protect the habitats we all call home.”
Virgin boss Richard Branson added:
“The decision by the US administration to back out of the Paris climate agreement is sad for Americans, it’s sad for the world and it’s sad for future generations. It is a policy of ‘America first. Earth last’, that will hurt everyone – Americans included. Climate change does not respect international borders, it imperils us all.
“The US administration just gave up on the chance to lead the clean energy revolution, create hundreds of thousands of jobs, fuel America’s growth and create the next generation of world-beating energy companies. It’s a colossal mistake and out of line with the rest of the world in trying to combat climate change, stop the complete destruction of our beautiful reefs and create a positive future for our children and grandchildren. It goes against the ambitions and hopes of the majority of the American people and leaves the field open for others to lead the way. As John Donne said 400 years ago, ‘no man is an island,’ and the world needs America to play its part in saving it.
“But the battle against climate change is being waged by businesses, by individuals, by officials, by governments – by a growing collective of people who understand this is the most important fight of our lives. What happens in the White House does not, and will not, change that. As business people and as human beings, we have to pick ourselves up on a global basis and just get on and try to sort the problem out ourselves with the other countries around the world.
“Nobody can stop the drive to clean energy. My message to the world is an old solution to a new problem: keep calm and carry on. Resist the nonsense of climate change denial, partisan policy and political posturing. Invest in your grandchildren’s future, and do everything you can to fight the good fight.”
The Nature Conservancy's CEO and President Mark Tercek said:
“Today’s announcement that the U.S. government intends to pull out of the Paris Agreement is short-sighted. For decades, the U.S. has demonstrated leadership on international environmental issues from President Reagan’s efforts to create the Montreal Protocol to protect the ozone layer through President Obama’s efforts to advance the Paris Agreement and drive it to enter into force. That U.S. leadership has been essential to stimulate the necessary actions by all countries to solve these global challenges. Universal action on climate change is the only path to a more secure, healthy and prosperous future.
“The Paris Agreement represents the most significant global signal that the world recognizes the urgency of taking action to protect our planet from the impacts of climate change. The Agreement puts each country in the driver’s seat to shape its own solutions. And, importantly, the Paris Agreement is designed to hold other countries accountable for what they commit to do. Addressing climate change presents opportunities for innovation in all facets of human life – in how we produce and use energy, design buildings and cities, and conserve and use land. New thinking, science and investment models in these areas can address climate threats while contributing to healthy lands and waters, safer communities and strong economies.
“Hundreds of U.S. companies – large and small – have declared their support for continuing U.S. leadership on climate change and the Paris Agreement. These companies recognize that proactively addressing climate change will be a driver of innovation, economic growth and prosperity. Indeed, the renewable energy sector in the United States now employs more workers than the fossil fuel industry, and the rate of job growth in the renewables sector is four times that of the rest of the U.S. economy. Maintaining U.S. leadership on climate is good for jobs, growth and competitiveness. State and local governments increasingly recognize these benefits and continue to support and invest in a clean energy future. Withdrawing from the Paris Agreement sends precisely the wrong signals to U.S. companies and places the United States at a competitive disadvantage.
“The Nature Conservancy firmly believes that strong and continued U.S. leadership is vital to the success of the Paris Agreement and addressing the challenge of climate change because the issue transcends borders and requires international cooperation to solve. We encourage the President and Congress to work with the business, environmental, public health and science communities, as well as state and local governments, to enhance our environmental safeguards, including the Paris Agreement, rather than back away from them, in order to deliver better environmental and economic outcomes for both people and nature.”
Ashley Sullivan, Community Engagement Specialist at the Jane Goodall Institute, said:
“The Paris Agreement represents an unprecedented collaboration among nations who choose to work together to address climate change in their own countries and globally. Dr. Jane Goodall participated in the 21st Conference of the Parties to the Treaty on Climate Change in Paris and, at that time, she called on each of us to take action ourselves to protect our natural world. Amidst all of the evidence and already occurring changes, threatening all living things in the oceans and on land (including humans), the Trump Administration is set on withdrawing from the Paris Agreement. In response to this, we must use Jane’s message of action as a beacon to call upon ourselves and others to make decisions to help in curtailing climate change – an agreement we all make with the planet and all the other creatures we share this world with to protect life."
Sierra Club Executive Director Michael Brune released the following statement:
“Donald Trump has made a historic mistake which our grandchildren will look back on with stunned dismay at how a world leader could be so divorced from reality and morality. Trump has abandoned the standard of American leadership, turned his back on the what the public and the market demand, and shamelessly disregarded the safety of our families just to let the fossil fuel industry eke out a few more dollars in profits. This is a decision that will cede America’s role internationally to nations like China and India, which will benefit handsomely from embracing the booming clean energy economy while Trump seeks to drive our country back into the 19th century.
“But the world should know that state and local action in the United States is moving strongly forward even in the face of Trump’s historic mistake. For every terrible decision Trump makes, grassroots activists, frontline communities, local governments, and concerned people across the country are fighting to make sure clean energy continues to grow by leaps and bounds. With our allies, Sierra Club members and supporters have helped retire more than 250 polluting coal plants and ensured more than 25 American cities have already committed to getting 100 percent of their energy from clean, renewable sources by 2030.
“Our resistance is sustainable and we will serve as a counterpoint to Trump’s dangerous policies every step of the way. Like leaders across the world, we aren’t going to wait around for our climate denier-in-chief to play catch up. As we win locally, countries across the world are already moving forward on meeting and surpassing their climate commitments. Make no mistake: the Paris Agreement was adopted after decades of climate advocacy by concerned citizens across America and around the world, and it certainly will not be derailed by the ignorance of one man.”
Environmental Defence Fund President, Fred Krupp, had this to say:
“This decision will live in infamy. President Trump has chosen to retreat. It is a course that defies logic, ignores overwhelming scientific evidence, and disregards the advice of more than 1,000 business leaders who urged him to stand up for climate action and our clean energy economy. Leaving the Paris Agreement will slow clean energy job growth while adding more pollution to our air, harming our health and fueling more chaotic extreme weather events. This is the wrong move in every way.
“The main victims of this reckless decision will be American workers and families. It will damage the United States far more than it damages the rest of the world. Shirking our obligation to lead will leave America isolated. In fact, other world leaders have already made clear that they will move ahead with their Paris commitments — with or without the U.S.
“By abandoning our pledge, the president is lining up with Syria and Nicaragua, the only nations in the world that have refused to sign the agreement. He is giving away our good jobs to Europe and China. He is weakening our position in business deals and trade negotiations to come. And he is risking a global economic backlash that will hurt American workers and businesses even more. That is why so many leading companies — and the vast majority of Americans — oppose this disastrous move. It cannot be the last word and we will fight to see that it isn’t.
“If there can be a silver lining today, it is that this becomes a galvanizing moment for the majority of Americans who support clean energy, climate action and U.S participation in the Paris Agreement. As these women and men stand up for their children and adopt clean energy in their own lives, they will join the myriad cities, states, companies, and nations around the world who are leading the way to a cleaner, healthier future even as the president tries to go backward. Together, we can take action and control our own future.”
A statement from Rhea Suh, president of the Natural Resources Defense Council:
“This is a grave and grievous mistake that hurts our country — starting now.
“Trump’s extremism has isolated us from the global coalition we helped to create — with China, Germany, India, Japan and 190 other countries — to fight the central environmental challenge of our time. He’s sidelined American workers in the clean energy boom that’s remaking the global economy. And he’s abandoned our children to climate catastrophe.
“It’s on the rest of us now — state and local officials, business leaders, citizens, educators, consumers, activists and congressional members who grasp the stakes for our future — to keep the promise of Paris alive.”
David Suzuki Foundation science and policy director Ian Bruce said:
“This top-down decision has left the U.S. administration stranded, spinning its wheels. By withdrawing from the agreement, the president has taken a weak position that will stall economic and environmental progress.
“Global renewable energy investment and opportunities are accelerating by the day. If the U.S. administration doesn’t want to move forward, individual states will. California is already a world leader on climate policy. Texas is rapidly expanding its wind energy. Just because the U.S. has pulled out of the agreement doesn’t mean Americans and U.S. investors will sit still. There is substantial economic opportunity in renewables. The U.S. solar industry alone creates one in 50 new jobs.
“The president is turning his back on states that voted for him. Most Americans want renewable energy because it allows people the freedom to generate and supply their own energy and creates economic opportunities.”
On behalf of Ted Turner and the United Nations Foundation Board, UN Foundation President and CEO Kathy Calvin released the following statement on U.S. decision to withdraw from the Paris Agreement on Climate Change.
“The Administration’s decision to withdraw from the Paris Agreement is a historic forfeiture of global leadership that is damaging to America’s economy, environment, and security.
“Since being negotiated in December 2015, countries, the private sector, and other actors around the world have rallied around the Paris Agreement with unprecedented speed and scale. Adopted by 194 countries and already formally joined by more than 140, the Paris Agreement outpaced virtually every global agreement of the modern age, a powerful sign of collective determination for bold and urgent climate action.
“As UN Secretary-General António Guterres said earlier this week, ‘Climate change is undeniable. Climate action is unstoppable. And climate solutions provide opportunities that are unmatchable.’ Fortunately, states, cities, businesses, and faith leaders across the country recognize this reality. They have made it loud and clear that they are committed to filling any void of federal leadership by redoubling their efforts to build a clean energy and resilient economy in the United States that is feasible, cost-effective, and will ultimately help meet our global climate challenge.”
At the United Nations, the Spokesman for the Secretary-General said the decision by the United States to withdraw from the Paris Agreement on climate change is a major disappointment for global efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and promote global security.
“The Paris Agreement was adopted by all the world’s nations in 2015 because they recognize the immense harm that climate change is already causing and the enormous opportunity that climate action presents,” Stéphane Dujarric told the media at the UN Headquarters in New York, shortly after US President Donald Trump announced his country’s withdrawal from the Agreement.
“It offers a meaningful yet flexible framework for action by all countries.”
He further added that Secretary-General António Guterres remains confident that cities, States and businesses within the US – along with other countries – will continue to demonstrate vision and leadership by working for the low-carbon, resilient economic growth that will create quality jobs and markets for 21st century prosperity.
“It is crucial that the United States remains a leader on environmental issues,” he noted.
Mr. Dujarric also said that the Secretary-General looked forward to engaging with the US Government and all actors in the country and around the world to build the sustainable future on which the future generations depend.
In a separate statement, the head of the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) said the US decision to leave the Paris Agreement in no way brings an end to this unstoppable effort. China, India, the European Union and others are already showing strong leadership. Indeed, 190 nations are showing strong determination to work with them to protect this and future generations.
“The science on climate change is perfectly clear: we need more action, not less. This a global challenge. Every nation has a responsibility to act and to act now,” said UNEP Executive Director Erik Solheim, underscoring that there is incredible momentum on climate action and a single political decision will not derail this unparalleled effort.
Urging all parties to redouble their efforts, he said that UNEP would work with everyone willing to make a difference. “Climate action is not a burden, but an unprecedented opportunity. Decreasing our dependence on fossil fuels will build more inclusive and robust economies. It will save millions of lives and slash the huge healthcare cost of pollution.”
“Committing to climate action means helping countries like Iraq and Somalia on the front line of extremism and terrorism. It means helping coastal communities from Louisiana to the Solomon Islands,” explained Mr. Solheim, adding that it also means protecting food security and building stability to avoid adding yet more refugees to what is already an unprecedented global humanitarian crisis.