States React to Trump's Decision to Abandon Paris Climate Agreement

June 1, 2017

President Donald Trump announced today he will withdraw the U.S. from the Paris climate agreement, despite objections from governors, business executives, and global leaders who want America to maintain leadership on the issue.

On May 3, 12 governors urged Trump to keep the U.S. in the landmark agreement, which includes almost every nation in the world. Governors of California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Minnesota, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Virginia, and Washington signed the letter, which the Georgetown Climate Center helped to facilitate. Two additional governors, Republicans Phil Scott from Vermont and Charlie Baker from Massachusetts, sent a separate letter on May 17, urging the administration to remain in the agreement. 

In the end, the President decided to go against their advice. Completing withdrawal from the agreement, which will take nearly four years, would mean the U.S. joins Nicaragua and Syria as the only countries not participating in the Paris Agreement.

In response to the announcement, leaders have again voiced concerns about the U.S. ceding leadership on such a critical issue, and governors from New York, California, and Washington announced the formation of the United States Climate Alliance, a coalition of states that are committed to achieving the U.S. goal of reducing emissions 26-28 percent from 2005 levels and meeting or exceeding the targets of the federal Clean Power Plan.  New York Governor Andrew Cuomo mentioned the important efforts already underway in his state when forming the Alliance, including the regional Transportation and Climate Initiative, which the Georgetown Climate Center facilitates.

California, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New York, Oregon, Puerto Rico, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia, and Washington have joined the bipartisan United States Climate Alliance. 

Seventeen governors have pledged that their states will continue to reduce carbon pollution and develop a clean energy economy:

California

Gov. Jerry Brown's statement:

“Donald Trump has absolutely chosen the wrong course. He’s wrong on the facts. America’s economy is boosted by following the Paris Agreement. He’s wrong on the science. Totally wrong. California will resist this misguided and insane course of action. Trump is AWOL but California is on the field, ready for battle.” 

Gov. Brown’s comments to LA Times:

"Here we are, in 2017, going backwards," Gov. Jerry Brown said in an interview with the Los Angeles Times. "It cannot stand, it's not right and California will do everything it can to not only stay the course, but to build more support — in other states, in other provinces, in other countries."

"Trump is going against science. He's going against reality,"Brown said. "We can’t stand by and give aid and comfort to that."

"If we want to retain and enhance manufacturing, we have to do what California is doing, in clean energy and clean technology," Brown said. "That's the future of jobs, the future of sustainability. And we better get on board. And California will be right there with the best of them."

Gov. Brown comments to E&E News:

"America's gone AWOL under Trump," Brown told E&E News yesterday. "Ironically, Trump, by his actions, is giving climate denial a very bad name, making it utterly implausible. And that is actually building the energy and strength of the contrary movement, which is climate activism and efforts by countries, states and provinces to do the right thing to get our economy aligned with a decarbonized future.”

"The complexity and scope of climate issues calls out for federal leadership and federal rules and laws," the governor said. "It can't make up for it, but California and other states and other countries can hold the line and advance the ball while we suffer this interregnum of climate denial.”

Colorado

Gov. John Hickenlooper statement:

“It is a serious mistake to back out of the Paris Accord. This is a historic global agreement between almost every nation on earth to address the single most pressing issue facing humanity. Abandoning this climate deal is like ripping off your parachute when you should be pulling the ripcord.

“America’s greatness has always been demonstrated by our moral leadership. Today, we break ranks with 190 nations who are working together to stop the worst effects of climate change, which the scientific community agrees would devastate the global economy and our planet, and the defense community agrees would destabilize vulnerable nations that have served as breeding grounds for international terrorism.

“The U.S. is letting go the reins of world leadership, allowing other countries like Russia, India, and China to take our seat at the international table. Our economic and technological competitiveness will suffer. Isolationism is not leadership.

“Colorado’s commitment to clean air and clean energy will continue. Clean energy is abundant, home-grown, and creates 21st century jobs for our modern workforce across every part of our state. We renew our commitment to pursue cleaner energy at a lower cost. To do otherwise would be governmental malpractice.”

Gov. Hickenlooper from E&E News:

Hickenlooper likened Trump to a child playing baseball who, finding a call has gone against him, picks up the bat and ball and goes home. Still, the president's ultimate decision on Paris does little to alter Colorado's course, he said.

"We are going to continue to move for cleaner air at the same or less cost. In other words, the world is evolving so we can genuinely imagine transitioning so we have less coal plants, more wind, more solar, more natural gas," Hickenlooper said. "We have a number of utilities in Colorado, and they have to be part of this. I don't want to give an edict. We have talked to all of them about how do we get to cleaner air, less carbon emissions. The minimum is to be the same cost, but the goal is to get there and see if we can save money."

"When you begin to bring governors together, you can do almost anything," Hickenlooper said in a phone call. "I think we're going to see, mark my words, we're going to see an evolution to governors playing a stronger role in energy and governors working together at a level we have not seen before. When the federal government abandons its leadership on a specific issue, I think states have an obligation to their citizens to step up."

 

Connecticut

Gov. Dan Malloy from Twitter:

"Withdrawing the United States from the Paris Agreement is a grave mistake – and it is our future generations who will pay the price. Our nationa has a proud history of leading by example and we do not cower from the hard work of making the world a safer place. History will judge this presidential administration harshly for its collective failure to address one of teh most pressing global issues of our lifetime.  For our part, in connecticut we will continue building on our efforts to address climate change with common sense, practical initiatives that will help to build and grow our economy. Unfortunately, we lack a strong partner at the federal level as we go about this incredibly important work."

 

Delaware

Gov. John Carney statement:

“I am deeply disappointed that President Trump has chosen to withdraw the United States from the Paris Agreement that united nations across the globe in a fight against climate change. Already the effects of climate change are taking a toll on Delawareans, as sea levels rise and extreme weather events increase driven by warming of the planet from carbon dioxide. As one of the country’s lowest-lying states and with 381 miles of coastline, Delaware also is vulnerable to climate change’s ominous meteorological impacts. Sea level rise exacerbates flooding that occurs during storms and warming ocean waters may cause stronger hurricanes and tropical storms. More than 17,000 homes and 500 miles of roadway in the state are at risk of permanent inundation. Rising average temperatures and prolonged heat waves pose critical health threats to Delaware’s agriculturalists, outdoor workers, children, and elderly in particular. These threats will only increase. The world is now on notice that without the United States’ leadership in reducing greenhouse gases that fuel rapid climate change, it’s an even greater uphill battle for future generations facing this ever-encroaching threat.”

 

District of Columbia

Mayor Muriel Bowser:

“Washington, DC will continue to work with cities and countries around the globe to meet the goals of the Paris Agreement. The effects of climate change are already here, and without proper planning and collaboration, they will continue to get worse. It is in the best interest of our country’s safety, economy, and future to take climate change seriously, and as the Mayor of a major city, I have a special obligation to protect our environment for generations to come and to create policies and programs that reflect the values of the residents I serve. Over the past two years, Washington, DC has launched Climate Ready DC, entered into one of the largest municipal onsite solar projects in the U.S., and completed the largest wind power purchase agreement deal of its kind ever entered into by an American city. Going forward, our commitment to wind and solar will not yield, and we will move forward with building a more sustainable DC.

At a time when our country should be leading the fight against climate change, it is disappointing to see us retreating into isolation. Fortunately, I am confident that leaders around the country will continue to think globally, act locally, and ensure that the U.S. remains a strong partner in the fight against climate change.”

 

Hawaii

Gov. David Ige statement:

"Hawaiʻi and other Pacific Islands are already experiencing the impact of rising sea levels and natural disasters. That’s why my administration and the Legislature are already taking concrete steps to implement the Paris Accord. Hawaiʻi will continue to fulfill its kuleana on reaching our energy, water, land and other sustainability goals to make island Earth a home for all. The innovation economy is driven by technology, clean energy, and green jobs. We will continue to lead on this transformation and work collaboratively with people around the world."

 

Maryland

Gov. Larry Hogan Statement:

"This is not an action the governor would have taken. Governor Hogan is a strong advocate for protecting Maryland’s environment, including cleaner air and water, and supports efforts to combat climate change. Maryland adopted some of the most stringent air quality standards in the nation – significantly stricter than federal standards and those in the Paris accord – when the governor signed the Greenhouse Gas Reduction Act into law in 2016. The governor’s 2017 environmental legislation included additional provisions to reduce emissions by encouraging the use of electric vehicles, incentives for renewable energy, and funding for resiliency and preparedness. Governor Hogan remains committed to preserving Maryland’s natural resources for future generations."

 

Massachusetts

Gov. Charlie Baker statement on Twitter:

“While the decision by the Trump-Pence Administration to withdraw from the Paris Climate Agreement is disappointing, the Commonwealth is committed to working with our partners around the nation and world to reduce carbon emissions. Despite today’s announcement, Massachusetts is aggressively working to exceed the goals of the Paris Agreement on the state level, while growing our economy through clean energy innovation and environmental stewardship. In Massachusetts and around the world, climate change is a shared reality and our ability to rise and respond to this challenge will shape future generations.”

Gov. Baker from E&E News:

Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker, among the most outspoken Republicans on climate, said in a statement that "a decision by the Trump-Pence Administration to not maintain the United States' commitment to the Paris Climate Agreement would be disappointing and counterproductive to the efforts and progress Massachusetts and other states have made to reduce carbon emissions.

 

Minnesota

Gov. Mark Drayton statement:

“President Trump’s decision to withdraw the United States from the Paris Climate Change Agreement is terrible for our state, nation, and world. It will cause irreparable damage to our environment and our economy. It will withdraw the United States, the largest energy consumer in the world, from the collective efforts to reduce severe environmental damage before it is too late.

“As damaging as this decision will be, it will not deter our efforts here in Minnesota. We will show the world what we can achieve by working together to conserve energy, to use cleaner and renewable energy, and to leave a livable planet to our children and grandchildren.”

 

Montana

Gov. Steve Bullock on Facebook:

"Ask any Montana farmer, rancher, hunter, angler, or skier – climate change is real and poses a threat to our economy and way of life. To not acknowledge that or deal with it in a responsible way is short-sighted and dangerous. 

"In Montana, and in America, we face our challenges head on and work together to find solutions. We do not run away from them or pretend they don’t exist."

 

New York

Gov. Andrew Cuomo from Facebook:

"Withdrawing from the Paris Accord is reckless.

"I’m signing an Executive Order affirming New York State's role in fighting climate change. New York is committed to meeting the standards set forth in the Paris Accord regardless of Washington’s irresponsible actions."

Gov. Cuomo from Twitter:

"New York is committed to meeting the standards set forth in the Paris Accord regardless of Washington’s irresponsible actions."

 

Ohio

Gov. John Kasich from Twitter:

"I share concerns many have voiced about flaws in the Paris climate agreement. I’m convinced we can correct them and improve the agreement, however, by showing leadership and constructively engaging with like-minded nations, not by joining the ranks of holdouts like Syria and Nicaragua.”

 

Oregon

Gov. Kate Brown Statement:

"Climate change poses the greatest threat to Oregon's environment, economy, and way of life. Oregon has a strong tradition of fighting climate change, and we will not back down. The consequenses of climate change are already impacting our communities and threaten the long-term sustainability of our natural resource-based economies.  Leading U.S. companies recognize the need to address climate change risks and oppportunities through the Paris Agreement, and are wisely investing in low-carbon fuels and clean energy technologies to stay on the cutting edge of the global economy. 

"It is irresponsible for the president to deny these real-world implications. But I will continue to work with leaders on the West Coast, across the country, and around the world to address the challenge of climate change. While Oregon is a small state, we can play a hugue role in finding innovative solutions to preserve our natural resources, reduce carbon, and create a cleaner, and greener energy mix of the future."

 

Pennsylvania

Gov. Tom Wolf:

Governor Tom Wolf today reiterated his call for President Trump to remain in the Paris Agreement on climate change, which was signed by every country in the world besides Syria and Nicaragua.

“I urge President Trump not to abdicate the United States’ global leadership and seat at the table on climate change – a pressing issue for Pennsylvania’s economy, especially energy, agriculture and tourism, and our resident’s health,” Governor Wolf said. “Pennsylvania is an energy leader and addressing emissions presents opportunities for Pennsylvania’s natural gas, renewable energy and energy efficiency industries to grow and create new jobs.

“Many of America’s largest corporations – from energy to technology – agree with environmental advocates, faith leaders and scientists that staying in the Paris agreement is the right choice for America. We cannot ignore the scientific evidence and economic significance of climate change and put our economy and population at risk.”

 

Rhode Island

Gov. Gina Raimondo from Twitter:

"I am deeply disappointed that the President has decided to withdraw the United States from the Paris Agreement. Republicans and Democrats alike recognize that the Paris Agreement is about so much more than climate change. It's about opportunity, stewardship and America's standing as a global leader. President Trump's action will not deter Rhode Island from taking necessary steps to address climate change. Our action at the state level will create new jobs and attract new investment in the green economy. We've set a goal to secure 1000 MW of clean energy resources and double the number of clean energy jobs by 2020. Ocean State families and businesses are on the front lines fighting climate change. I will continue to work with the General Assembly and partners in other states to protect our environment and advance clean energy alternatives, while creating new opportunities for our workforce in the process."

 

Vermont

Gov. Phil Scott statement:

“The President’s decision to withdraw from the Paris Climate Agreement is disappointing and concerning, particularly given the widespread and non-partisan support from business and political leaders for remaining in the Agreement.

“Vermont has taken a leadership role in addressing climate change, and the President’s decision today only strengthens our commitment. We have strong, regional multi-state partnerships through the Coalition of Northeast Governors (CONEG) and have made much progress in reducing the region’s carbon emissions, and we will maintain this work because it is the right and responsible thing to do.

“We will continue to do our share in a way that creates jobs, makes our state more affordable for families and businesses, and protects our environment for future generations.”

 

 

Virginia

Gov. Terry McAuliffe:

"The President's dangerous action today will have a devastating impact on our environment, our economy, and our health. The United States economy is dependent on leadership in the world, yet the President seems inclined to sit back and let other nations pass us by. Climate change is a threat to our way of life. If President Trump refuses to lead the response, Virginia will.

"Earlier this month I signed an order initiating the process of cutting carbon emissions in our Commonwealth and making Virginia a leader in the clean energy economy. That process will proceed despite this foolish decision by the Trump administration, and I hope states around the country join Virginia in showing Washington the way forward on this critical issue for our nation and our world."

 

Washington

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee:

"Washington state is leading the way on climate issues where Washington, D.C., is failing. The Paris Climate Agreement is a landmark international pact that represents our greatest opportunity to secure long-term U.S. and global economic security in the face of growing threats from climate change. One hundred and ninety-four nations have signed the agreement, 147 have ratified it, and more than 85 percent of the world's carbon pollution are now covered by its terms. Counted among the signatories are China and India, two of the world's largest contributors of greenhouse gas emissions, whose support for the agreement emerged through diligent U.S. leadership.

"Today the White House signaled that President Donald Trump will end the United States' participation in this agreement. This is a shameful course of action that will jeopardize the health and prosperity of our children and grandchildren. With this decision, Trump would leave America's destiny not as a nation that harnesses the clean, renewable energy above our shoulders, but that instead remains mired in the dirty, diminishing energy under our feet.

"But even before today, the Trump Administration has been taking steps to show it will refuse to confront the climate challenge. Trump's Environmental Protection Agency is already working to gut carbon pollution standards, to instead benefit fossil fuel industry profits; his Energy Department is proposing to slash research and development into new clean energy technologies; and his State Department has already checked out of our international climate partnerships.

"In Washington state we are taking action to reduce carbon pollution. We have implemented a cap on carbon pollution, and we will continue working with businesses and research institutions to develop and deploy 21st century clean energy solutions. We are also partnering with other states who are doing the same, and our states will not stop fighting for a clean energy future, regardless of who is in the White House. But we - and the global community - need a partner in the United States federal government.

"The U.S. cannot credibly remain a world leader while withdrawing from an agreement that reflects the overwhelming desire of the global community. President Trump has put our nation on the wrong path, and the wrong side of history.”

 

Additional Statements:

61 mayors commit to adopt, honor and uphold Paris Climate Agreement goals