Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti was one of dozens of mayors denouncing President Donald Trump’s move Thursday to pull the country out of the Paris climate agreement.
“Climate change is a fact of life that people in Los Angeles and cities around the world live with every day. It is a grave threat to our health, our environment, and our economy — and it is not debatable or negotiable,” Garcetti said.
“This is an urgent challenge, and it’s much bigger than one person. With the president pulling out of the Paris climate agreement, L.A. will lead by committing to the goals of the accord — and will work closely with cities across America and the world to do the same,” he added.
On the state level, Gov. Jerry Brown announced the creation of a U.S. Climate Alliance that will include states committed to upholding the guidelines of the Paris agreement. He said California, New York and Washington are the initial members, with those states representing more than one-fifth of U.S. Gross Domestic Product.
“If the president is going to be AWOL in this profoundly important human endeavor, then California and other states will step up,” Brown said.
Garcetti had already announced earlier this week that he is working with Los Angeles Councilman Mike Bonin to have a motion introduced instructing the city’s departments to adhere to the Paris Agreement.
The Paris Agreement was signed by 195 countries in 2015 and set a goal of curbing greenhouse gas emissions, along with keeping a global rise in temperature this century well below 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels. It also calls for an effort to limit the temperature increase even further to 1.5 degrees Celsius.
Under the agreement, every country submitted a plan to lower greenhouse emissions and agreed to meet regularly and share progress. The agreement is nonbinding and countries are allowed to adjust their plans depending on their domestic situation, with peer pressure from other countries being the primary motivating factor.
Former President Barack Obama promised to cut greenhouse gasses 26 to 28 percent below 2005 levels by 2025 and commit $3 billion in aid to poorer countries.
By withdrawing, the United States joins Syria and Nicaragua as the only countries not to participate in the agreement, although it takes four full years to officially withdraw and a new president could reverse the decision before then.
Trump said the agreement was bad for the U.S. economy.
“As someone who cares deeply about our environment, I cannot in good conscience support a deal which punishes the United States,” he said. “The Paris accord is very unfair at the highest level to the United States.”
In justifying his decision, Trump cited a National Economic Research Associates study, saying the agreement could cost the United States $3 trillion by 2040, reducing the industrial job-sector workforce by 6.5 million, including a loss of 3.1 million manufacturing jobs. He said it would also lead to a reduction in cement, iron, steel, coal, natural gas and petroleum production.
Trump said the deal gives other countries “an unfair advantage” over the United States, and allows other polluting countries to continue its greenhouse gas emissions while the U.S. is forced to cut its own.
Garcetti is a co-founder of the Mayors National Climate Action Agenda, which issued a statement signed by him and 60 other mayors pledging to adhere to the climate agreement.
“We will continue to lead. We are increasing investments in renewable energy and energy efficiency. We will buy and create more demand for electric cars and trucks. We will increase our efforts to cut greenhouse gas emissions, create a clean energy economy, and stand for environmental justice,” the statement said.
“And if the president wants to break the promises made to our allies enshrined in the historic Paris Agreement, we’ll build and strengthen relationships around the world to protect the planet from devastating climate risks. The world cannot wait — and neither will we.”
— City News Service
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