A note of concern
Mr. President, you have withdrawn from the Paris Agreement at your peril – and at the peril of humankind.
The main objective of the agreement is to protect our planet from environmental, economic and social catastrophe and so safeguard its future.
Global warming is a man-made threat to the Earth and its inhabitants. The global climate is changing, seas are rising and ice caps are melting. Our habitat and we are at enormous risk on account of greenhouse gas emissions.
All nations, developed and developing alike, have accepted those facts. They came to the negotiating table in Paris and brokered an honest and historic deal to prevent our planet from overheating to such an extent that it may never recover.
You, Mr. President, have elected misguidedly to break that deal. You have abandoned your country’s leadership role. Most regrettably, you have explicitly refused to do as much as you can to clean up the atmosphere that we all share. Sustainable energy and cleaner energy are key factors in the survival of humankind.
Mr. President, you have squandered an opportunity to pave the way in key emerging industries, thus creating a vacuum that China will waste no time in filling. You have also forgone the opportunity for your country’s industries and businesses to develop and profit from new solar and wind technologies. Moreover, you have wittingly ignored the growth potential for jobs in the related industrial sectors and the economic benefits of reduced emissions.
Overall, climate change will make it more difficult to grow crops, raise cattle and catch fish. Malnutrition and famine will follow in the wake of environmental collapse. Violent storms, warmer temperatures, and unrelenting drought will pose a threat to pastures and food supplies. Many of those most in need will lack the water and food essential to their survival. The children of the world and their children’s children are at an almost insurmountable risk.
Nothing, Mr. President, stands to be gained from ignoring climate change or hankering nostalgically for the past. For the sake of the world’s population, all countries must take up the challenges and seize the opportunities of the future. We must all make the world great again.
NGO Committee on Sustainable Development
In November 2016 the Paris Accord became the world’s first comprehensive climate agreement and framework for countries to adopt clean energy and collectively mitigate global warming.
On June 1, 2017, in a Rose Garden speech, President Trump turned his back on the Paris agreement. Trump said he represented “the citizens of Pittsburgh, not Paris.”
Apparently, the citizens of Pittsburgh hadn’t been consulted.
“As the Mayor of Pittsburgh, I can assure you that we will follow the guidelines of the Paris Agreement for our people, our economy, and future,” tweeted Mayor Bill Peduto. He then issued an executive order recommitting the city government to its goals of cutting energy use by half and sourcing all its energy from renewable sources by 2030.
Trump may be out, but two hundred and forty-seven US cities are in, including nine of the ten largest cities in America – New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Houston, Philadelphia, Phoenix, San Diego, Dallas and San Jose – along with hundreds of additional cities large and small in both red and blue states.
In the Climate Mayors statement, the mayors claim that not only will their cities individually adopt the Paris accord, but they will also work as a group to push for even stronger climate action. “We will intensify efforts to meet each of our cities’ current climate goals, push for new action to meet the 1.5 degrees Celsius target, and work together to create the 21st-century clean energy economy,” reads the statement. “The world cannot wait – and neither will we.”
As we build, so shall we live,
Kirstin Miller, Executive Director
Executive Director at Ecocity Builders, San Francisco Institute of Architecture