WASHINGTON (AP/WAVY) – President Donald Trump announced Thursday his decision to withdraw the U.S. from the Paris climate agreement.
“As of today, the United States will cease all implementation of the nonbinding Paris accord,” Trump said during a White House Rose Garden announcement. Suggesting renegotiating re-entry was not a major priority, he said, “If we can, great. If we can’t, that’s fine.”
Under former President Barack Obama, the U.S. had agreed to reduce emissions to 26 percent to 28 percent of 2005 levels by 2025 — which equates to about 1.6 billion tons.
The U.S. is the world’s second-largest emitter of carbon, following only China.
Virginia lawmakers are expressing their reaction to President Trump’s decision.
U.S. Senator Tim Kaine (D-VA):
President Trump’s retreat from the Paris Agreement will turn over America’s international leadership role to China and make it harder to deal with the realities of climate change we already see at home in places like Hampton Roads, Virginia. This retreat also reflects an extraordinary lack of faith in American innovation, as the President seems to think that the U.S. commitment to cut about 1/4th of our carbon pollution by 2025 is beyond the grasp of the country that won World War II and put men on the moon. I reject the notion that this nation has to choose between our clean energy and economic goals. I want to tell my grandchildren that the United States met this challenge head-on and triumphed over it, not shrank and cowered from it. I am confident that our nation’s optimistic, can-do spirit will eventually prevail over this short-sighted dereliction of America’s leadership role.”
U.S. Senator Mark Warner (D-VA):
President Trump’s disappointing action today places our national security at risk, and it will harm the health and safety of Americans. It is a rejection of settled science and it poses a direct threat to Virginia’s environment, economy and way of life. Withdrawing from the Paris Climate Agreement and abdicating America’s leadership role in the world is a historic mistake.”
Va. Governor 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.”
Congressman Bobby Scott (VA-3rd District)
President Trump’s decision to remove the United States from the Paris Climate Agreement is a step in the wrong direction. By withdrawing from the agreement, the President is undermining the interests of countless communities and ecosystems harmed by climate change in the United States. Unfortunately, this latest action by the Trump Administration will only further hurt Virginians and our environment. In Hampton Roads, we have already seen the signs of a changing climate through extreme weather, recurrent flooding, and higher than average temperatures. These impacts are being felt particularly in Norfolk, which has been listed as the second most at risk city behind New Orleans for sea level rise in the United States.
President Trump’s embarrassing decision places the United States in the company of Syria and Nicaragua, the only two countries not participating in the agreement. Furthermore, it weakens the United States’ role as a global leader, strains our alliances abroad, and discourages investments in clean energy technologies here at home. The American people rely on their elected leaders to provide solutions to the challenges posed by climate change – not to ignore science and deny the threats. We have an obligation to reduce the impacts of climate change. That is why I will continue to fight for stronger environmental protections that will create a cleaner future for generations to come.”