Paris Withdrawal Would Be Closer To ‘America Last’ Than ‘America First’

Statement from WHRC President Dr. Philip Duffy

Philip B. DuffyThe Trump Administration appears poised to withdraw from the Paris Climate Agreement.

Because that decision might not be final, I encourage you to make your voices heard. Call your elected representatives. Tell them that you support the Paris Agreement and the fight against climate change.

If the Trump Administration’s rumored withdrawal does go through, it would be a blow to our country’s global reputation, but it will not stop progress in controlling climate change. With a U.S. withdrawal from Paris, there would be only three countries in the world that are not signed on – Syria, Nicaragua, and the United States. This is closer to “America last” than “America first.”

But the Paris Agreement will continue. Not only will the 194 nations remaining in the agreement continue the important steps they are taking, but states, cities, corporations, and others within the United States will as well. In Massachusetts, our legislature is considering a bill to sign on to the Paris Agreement as a non-state actor. This is an important opportunity to show that the Trump Administration does not speak for all Americans on climate change.

And even as the administration seeks to cut funding for U.S. global change research, independent institutions like the Woods Hole Research Center will continue to develop and implement science-based solutions to climate change, both here and abroad.

Instead of promoting backward-looking policies, we must look forward. Instead of pretending that climate change does not exist and promoting fossil fuels, we should be developing the solutions to climate change and promoting them. If we don’t do that, someone else will, and it will be a huge lost opportunity for the United States.

Statement from WHRC Senior Advisor Dr. John Holdren

John HoldrenIf, as is rumored, President Trump withdraws from the Paris Accord on climate change it will be a major setback for progress toward limiting the damage from climate change. It will be a disaster for U.S. standing in the global community.

The damage will result both from a reduction on U.S. progress to fight climate change but even more importantly from a reduction in U.S. financial and technical support to developing countries to reduce their own emissions and increase their preparedness and resilience against the changes in climate that are ongoing.

From the standpoint of diplomacy, the U.S. withdrawal will reduce our standing all around the world. It will reduce our capacity to get cooperation from other countries on other issues. Basically it is not a step toward ‘America first,’ but a step toward ‘America last.’