President Trump’s decision to pull out of the Paris climate accord is not winning him any friends in the environmental community. That’s reflected by reaction from regional advocates.
“The United States will withdraw from the Paris climate accord.”
Those comments from President Donald Trump on Thursday afternoon are being criticized by many including noted environmentalist Bill McKibben. “I didn’t know what to expect. And apparently until the last minute this foolish man was dithering between saying yes or no and according to the Washington Post this morning the deciding factor was he felt that he had been scorned by European leaders so he was going to show them. It’s very difficult to predict what an infantile egotist is going to do at any given moment. But yesterday was a disaster. I mean it’s the thing that Trump will be remembered for ah for hundreds of years assuming we’re around for hundreds of years to remember. It’s definitely the biggest mistake an American leader has made since launching the war in Iraq. And you know it’s on a very short list of the dumbest things America’s ever done.”
McKibben believes Sacramento and Albany are now the two most important capitals on the continent to lead the climate change fight. “The move at city and state level towards policies committing to a hundred percent renewable energy are now the kind of sine qua non* of climate credibility.”
Environmental Advocates of New York Air and Energy Director Conor Bambrick calls withdrawing from the Paris accord troubling and reckless. “I always believed and I was always taught to believe that the United States was a global leader. And what the President did yesterday indicated to me that the United States is no longer prepared to be that leader.”
Adirondack Mountain Club Executive Director Neil Woodworth characterizes the president’s decision as unfortunate. “This sends a terrible message to the rest of the world about this nation’s leadership in addressing climate change. And for the Adirondacks, the Adirondacks is a temperate forest that’s quite rare in the world. If climate change continues at the current rate by the middle of the century we will have a climate that is much closer to North Carolina. That will create great changes in the Adirondacks.”
Adirondack Council spokesman John Sheehan says states must move cooperatively and is not surprised that President Trump fulfilled a campaign promise to withdraw. “I don’t know that we really thought it was realistic that he would go against that campaign promise given the pressures on him from economic forces that don’t want to come to grips with the idea that climate change is real. I think it’s going to take the public making it clear to Congress and to the White House that fossil fuels are not the way to go in the future before we’re going to see any real progress on climate deniers in office in Washington.”
Following the president’s announcement the governors of California, New York and Washington announced the formation of the United States Climate Alliance, a coalition of states that will uphold the Paris Climate Agreement. The three founding states represent over one-fifth of the nation’s Gross Domestic Product. Connecticut joined the coalition Friday.
*Merriam-Webster definition of sine qua non: something absolutely indispensable or essential