Trump flips off Earth

During the same week Trump announced the U.S. will exit the Paris climate agreement, NOAA scientists reported that the second-biggest jump in atmospheric CO2 on record occurred in 2016.

Second Biggest Jump in Annual CO2 Levels Reported as Trump Leaves Paris Climate Agreement
NOAA released its annual update on greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere and found a large increase in 2016

The decision to withdraw from the Paris climate agreement has triggered an outpouring of outrage across the U.S. and around the world.

Earthworks’ Executive Director Jennifer Krill said in a statement:

“President Trump’s decision to exit the Paris Climate Agreement sends a dangerous signal to the rest of the world that the United States values fossil fuel industry profits over clean energy innovation and the health and well-being of our citizens. As the second-largest emitter of greenhouse gas emissions, turning our back on international climate action damages not only our global reputation on this issue, but the people here at home who suffer from the air pollution that comes along with these emissions. The over 12 million people living within a half mile of an oil and gas facilities deserve action to reduce air pollution, not head-in-the-sand climate denial.”

In Colorado, Governor Hickenlooper and several environmental groups issued swift reactions.

According to a statement released by Hickenlooper’s office: “Colorado ranks among the nation’s largest clean energy employers. As of 2015, 2,070 clean technology companies operate in Colorado, supporting more than 62,000 jobs in both rural and urban communities. These clean tech jobs provide Coloradans $3.6 billion in wages. Colorado’s renewable energy industry is poised for significant growth in the years ahead, which will help improve Colorado’s air, reduce consumers’ electricity bills, and support well-paying jobs.”

Gov. Hickenlooper added:

“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.”

Yup. It’s bad all right. Ree-al bad, as Trump likes to say.

As bad as it is, the folks at The Climate Reality Project wants us to see the decision for what it is: Trump giving the middle finger to the world. Beyond that, as with the majority of proclamations coming from this White House, it’s not the end of the world …

Why the US Leaving the Paris Agreement Isn’t the End of the World

The article points out:

  • The earliest possible date for the US to truly withdraw is November 4, 2020, the day after the next presidential election;
  • The US withdrawal will inspire other countries to step up their transition to renewable energy such as wind & solar;
  • 65% of Americans support clean energy choices;
  • More cities and states are pledging a commitment to 100% renewable energy.

In the meantime, the New York Times reports that a U.S. group is forming that includes 30 mayors, three governors (CA, WA, NY), more than 80 university presidents, and more than 100 businesses, with more joining by the hour. The group will prepare a plan to meet the United States’ greenhouse gas emissions targets under the Paris climate agreement which will then be submitted to the United Nations.

Michael Bloomberg, former New York City mayor who is coordinating the effort, said in an interview: “We’re going to do everything America would have done if it had stayed committed.”

Bloomberg Philanthropies announced today [Friday] it will contribute $15 million to “support the operations” of the United Nation’s Framework Convention on Climate Change, the arm of the UN that coordinates the Paris climate agreement.

The contribution will cover the U.S. share of the convention’s operating budget, according to Bloomberg spokesperson Carl Pope. Bloomberg Philanthropies’ Clean Energy initiative has helped fund efforts to take coal-fired power plants offline.

The Bloomberg Philanthropies statement reads:

“The pledge aims to fill a significant funding gap that comes as a result of President Donald Trump’s announced withdrawal from the Paris agreement and proposed steep budget cuts for international programs, including on climate.”

Governor Hickenlooper needs to join with his fellow democratic governors Jerry Brown, Jay Inslee, and Andrew Cuomo, and sign on to Bloomberg’s group to show Coloradans that he is truly committed to 100% renewable energy in our future.

More information

PolitifactFact-checking Donald Trump’s statement withdrawing from the Paris climate agreement

Washington PostTrump says goodbye to the Paris climate agreement. Here’s what that means

NYT:  Bucking Trump, These Cities, States and Companies Commit to Paris Accord

Why the US Leaving the Paris Agreement Isn’t the End of the World — and what can you do now…

More statements from Colorado politicians and environmental groups

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.”

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