“The United States will withdraw from the Paris climate accord but begin negotiations to reenter either the Paris accord or an entirely new transaction on terms that are fair to the United States, its businesses, its workers, its people, and its taxpayers,” Trump said at a press conference at the White House. He added, “As president, I can put no other consideration before the wellbeing of American citizens,” noting that the accord left American workers and taxpayers “to absorb the cost in terms of lost jobs, lower wages, shuttered factories, and vastly diminished economic production.”
Jennie Stephens, Dean’s Professor of Sustainability Science and Policy and associate director of Northeastern University’s Global Resilience Institute elucidated how the decision to walk away from the accord might impact the nation’s efforts to address climate change as well as the effect it could have on America’s role as a global leader. She opined that Trump’s decision to withdraw from the Paris agreement does not actually halt climate mitigation efforts in the United States. Despite the lack of national support, much climate action in the U.S. is already taking place at the state and local levels. In addition, the transition away from fossil fuels toward more renewables will continue in the U.S. regardless of this decision.
Renewable energy is among the fastest-growing job-creating sectors in the country and the momentum there will not stop. The Trump administration’s attempt to expand, rather than reduce, fossil fuel reliance could slow down renewable expansion and increase greenhouse gas emissions in the U.S, but individuals, communities, and businesses around the country will continue to seek the benefits of cleaner renewable energy.Trump’s decision to withdraw is symbolic of an extremely narrow view of the societal costs of climate disruption and highlights a dangerous isolationist approach to engaging diplomatically with the rest of the world.