Trump’s Attack on the Paris Climate Agreement Has Officially Begun

by Kelly Mitchell

June 1, 2017

Today, Donald Trump officially announced he will try to pull the United States out of the Paris Climate Agreement — but that doesn’t mean the end of climate action.

Eiffel Tower Human Aerial Art in Paris

A large scale visual message made by hundreds of people promoting a 100% renewable energy and peace during the COP21 climate summit. The event was created in Paris by the international artist John Quigley.

After campaigning on promises to obstruct and derail all attempts at stopping catastrophic climate change, Donald Trump is following through. Today, he announced the U.S. will begin the nearly 4 year process of pulling out of the Paris Agreement.

This is no surprise coming from a man who’s repeatedly denied the science of climate change, packed the White House with oil CEOs and fossil fuel industry shills, and fast-tracked the Keystone XL and Dakota Access pipelines. In fact, the decision was announced to Members of Congress by Michael Catanzaro, a long time fossil fuel lobbyist who received an ethics waiver to work on key energy issues at EPA.

But there is one thing Trump and his anti-environment administration are forgetting — the transition to renewable energy is already well underway. Trump will do everything he can to put fossil fuels on life support, but he cannot stop the renewable energy revolution.

The Fight Against Climate Change in the United States Will Continue

Trump may not want to honor the country’s climate commitments, but plenty of others do. Even before Trump made the official move to withdraw from Paris, mayors, governors, and business leaders all promised to push forward and fight climate change.

California Governor Jerry Brown offered an applause-worthy rebuke to Trump’s climate denial at a speech at the American Geophysical Union in December. “We’ve got the scientists, we’ve got the lawyers, and we’re ready to fight,” Brown said to a crowd of scientists. California has one of the most ambitious climate action plans in the world, setting the goal to reduce carbon emissions 40 percent by 2030 over 1990 levels.

Mayors across the country are jumping on board, too — 134 U.S. cities (and counting) are signed on to the Compact of Mayors, an initiative designed to help cities around the world make their plans to fight climate change a reality. In January, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti told the Trump administration stay out of the way when it comes to cities’ acting on climate. And after Trump invoked the people of Pittsburgh to defend his disastrous Paris Climate withdraw, Pittsburgh’s Mayor Bill Peduto took to twitter to reaffirm his city’s commitment to climate action. 

But perhaps the biggest plus in the column of climate action is the fact that it’s simply the best economic decision. One in every 50 American jobs created in 2016 was in the solar industry, and the wind industry could support more than 600,000 jobs by 2050. Meanwhile, dozens of coal companies have filed for bankruptcy — giving CEOs million-dollar bonuses and shafting workers in the process.

Trump’s attempts to prop up desperate fossil fuel companies don’t just hurt the climate, they hurt American workers and families.

Trump Can’t Stop Global Climate Momentum

Looking outside the United States, the momentum behind climate action becomes even stronger.

As fast as renewable energy markets are growing the United States, they’re growing even faster around the world. In fact, wind and solar have already overtaken coal as the world’s largest source of new electricity.

And countries like China and India — together with the United States the world’s largest carbon polluters — are stepping up as the leaders the United States is failing to be. Chinese President Xi Jinping already warned Trump against abandoning the Paris Agreement, stating that “walking away” would harm future generations. India’s top energy official, Piyush Goyal, stated in January that “India stands committed to being part of green energy” no matter what other countries (cough, the United States, cough) decide.

A total of 194 countries have signed on to the Paris Climate Agreement — it will survive Trump’s lone attempts to undermine it. For all his bluster, Trump is just weakening U.S. competitiveness in a trillion dollar clean energy market and ceding our leadership role in tackling this global crisis. At best, it’s cowardly and shortsighted. At worst, pathologically reckless.

How You Can Speak Up for U.S. Climate Action

Trump’s climate denial and pandering to the fossil fuel industry are a call to action. Everyone who cares about a climate-safe future must now work harder than ever to resist Trump’s attacks on the Paris Agreement and support climate action at the local level.

Here are two things you can do today:

The majority of Americans want our government to act on climate. It’s time to remind Trump that he works for us — he can either get on board with fighting climate change or get out of the way.

Kelly Mitchell

By Kelly Mitchell

Kelly Mitchell is the Climate and Energy Campaign Director for Greenpeace, based in Chicago. Since 2006, she has worked with activists and organizations across the country to confront corporate polluters and transform U.S. energy policy. She currently leads Greenpeace's campaign for an economy powered by 100 percent renewable energy, pushing some of the largest companies in the world to embrace wind and solar and working alongside communities to develop a just and democratic energy system.

We Need Your Voice. Join Us!

Want to learn more about tax-deductible giving, donating stock and estate planning?

Visit Greenpeace Fund, a nonprofit, 501(c)(3) charitable entity created to increase public awareness and understanding of environmental issues through research, the media and educational programs.