Hickenlooper, activists respond after Trump pulls U.S. out of Paris climate accord

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WASHINGTON — After President Donald Trump announced Thursday his decision to withdraw the U.S. from the Paris climate accord, Republicans praised the decision but several groups in Colorado said the battle would continue at the state and local level.

Trump’s decision amounts to a rebuttal of the worldwide effort to pressure the U.S. to remain a part of the agreement, which 195 nations signed onto.

Foreign leaders, business executives and Trump’s daughter lobbied heavily for him to keep the U.S. a part of the deal, but ultimately lost out to conservatives who claim the plan is bad for the United States.

Reaction was swift.

Republican National Committee:

“Today, President Trump once again delivered on his campaign promise to put American workers first. The Paris Climate Accord hinders the prosperity and growth of our economy, while doing next to nothing to actually help the environment. The president is sending a clear message that we will no longer remain beholden to burdensome international deals at the expense of our taxpayers. I commend the president for making this decision that will save the U.S. economy from the loss of millions of jobs and trillions in economic output.”

Gov. John Hickenlooper: 

“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.”

Congresswoman Diana DeGette (D):

“Pulling out of the Paris Agreement won’t happen overnight, but this announcement’s impact will be immediate: It signals that the United States cannot be counted on to stick to its promises and is prepared to cede leadership in yet another area that is crucial to our future. After ridiculing international trade agreements, failing to stand up firmly for NATO’s Article 5 commitments and treating our traditional alliances with scorn, the president evidently is willing to renege on an accord to which all countries but Syria and Nicaragua have agreed. Why is he looking to alienate the United States?  ‘America First’ is turning into ‘America Alone.’

“This step defies scientific consensus about the effects of climate change. It will imperil future generations. And it will empower other countries that honor the Paris Agreement, leading them to create opportunities for innovation and a surging clean energy sector while our country is left in the dust.”

Colorado Sen. Michael Bennet (D):

“The President made a catastrophic mistake by putting a misguided campaign promise before the needs of our economy and the credibility of American diplomacy. Before this decision, the United States was on track to achieve energy independence, reduce its carbon footprint, and create good-paying jobs in rural communities—with Colorado leading the way. Withdrawing from the Paris Agreement attempts to undercut the progress we have made.

“In Colorado, we will continue working to meet the carbon emissions targets set in the Clean Power Plan. The administration should reverse this shortsighted decision and work to protect our planet, economy, and national security.”

Environment Colorado:

“President Trump is trying to kick America to the sidelines in the race to protect our health and the planet. Now more than ever, our governors and mayors must charge ahead to tackle the climate crisis.

“History will judge this action harshly. This decision sends a dangerous signal to the world that the United States – the nation most responsible for global warming – is breaking its promise to cut pollution. It shows the world that President Trump is willing to make climate change worse and risk our future all for the sake of a few polluting industries. It weakens American leadership when it’s needed most.

“The irony is, there is no going back. President Trump can slow the clean energy revolution, but he can’t stop it. The tragedy is that America, and our children, will pay the price for delay.

“Averting climate disaster would be easier with the help of the President. But it’s not too late to defend clean air and a livable planet. If President Trump won’t stick by our commitment to reduce pollution, we need our states and cities to do so.”

Western Resource Advocates:

“President Trump’s decision to back the United States out of the Paris Climate Accord is short-sighted and unwise. Climate change is one of the most pressing challenges of the 21st century, and its effects, like drought and increased wildfires are already being seen here in the American West.  As the second largest emitter of carbon dioxide pollution, the U.S. should lead on efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

“Unfortunately, abdicating leadership on climate issues will not make the problem go away, it will only slow growth in the robust clean energy sector and disadvantage one of the most dynamic sectors in our economy.

“Since 2005 western states have reduced greenhouse gas emissions from the power sector by 25%, kept electricity rates low, grown our economies and created tens of thousands of good paying jobs in the clean energy industry. Further emission reductions make sense since the cost of clean energy is now cheaper than fossil fuels in many instances across the west.

“If the President of the United States fails to lead, the American people and leaders in our western States will.”

Colorado Sierra Club:

“This president and his administration are on the wrong side of history with this remarkably short-sighted decision. Global climate change is an issue that requires moral and political leadership from the U.S. and energy-rich states like Colorado.”

“If our federal government isn’t going to make smart decisions for our environment and economy, it’s time that U.S. cities and states take the lead. Here in Colorado, Pueblo, Boulder and Aspen have committed to 100 percent clean and renewable energy by 2030; it’s time for leaders across Colorado to act by embracing the future and boldly committing to a sustainable future.”