America to Trump: We Are Still In

The president’s decision to pull the United States from the Paris climate agreement sparked a cry of resistance from leaders across the country. Here’s how to add your voice to the chorus.
Protestors gathered just minutes after President Trump announced the U.S. withdrawal from the Paris Agreement.
Credit: Jeff Malet/Newscom

The president’s decision to pull the United States from the Paris climate agreement sparked a cry of resistance from leaders across the country. Here’s how to add your voice to the chorus.

In announcing last week that the United States would be withdrawing from the Paris climate accord—an agreement that, for the first time in history, included specific carbon-cutting pledges from all major emitters—President Trump has stunned the world yet again.

His decision, which ignored the counsel of several of his closest advisors and cabinet members, was steeped in cynicism and fueled by falsehood. Either the president doesn’t understand the basic structure of the agreement, or else he does understand how it all works and has deliberately chosen to mischaracterize it for what he perceives to be a politically expedient end. Either set of circumstances is unacceptable to the American people.

Yet right after the announcement, a second stunning thing occurred. An American chorus arose in response, and its message couldn’t have been any louder or clearer: You don’t speak for us. The immediacy of this response was striking, as was its breadth. All across the country, governors, mayors, institutions, business leaders, and newly galvanized citizens didn’t waste a moment in condemning the president’s abdication of responsibility—and in declaring that if he wasn’t willing show the kind of leadership that this moment in history demands, then they would be the ones to do so.

Within hours of the president’s announcement, the governors of New York, California, and Washington had gotten together to form the U.S. Climate Alliance, a consortium of states that are explicitly “committed to achieving the U.S. goal of reducing emissions 26–28 percent from 2005 levels and meeting or exceeding the targets of the federal Clean Power Plan.” Noting that their three states, taken together, comprise more than one-fifth of the nation’s gross domestic product, the three governors who cofounded the alliance invited others to sign on to their declaration of independence from the Trump administration’s grievously shortsighted decision. In less than one week’s time, the alliance has grown more than fourfold: As of this writing, it boasts 10 new members—representing nearly one-third of the U.S. population—and will only continue to grow in the days and weeks to come.

“The world cannot wait—and neither can we.” With these words, a group of climate-conscious U.S. mayors is letting the president know that America’s cities are going to do whatever they can—with or without him—to achieve our country’s goals as set forth in the Paris Agreement. Their open letter to President Trump signifies a collective promise to “intensify efforts to meet each of our cities’ current climate goals, push for new action to meet the 1.5 degrees Celsius target, and work together to create a 21st-century clean energy economy.” As part of the tool kit they’re offering to city officials who want to join their cause, they’ve even shared a pre-worded and easily modifiable template for a pro-Paris resolution that can be brought before a city council and passed quickly to register support. When the mayors’ letter was first posted online last Thursday, it had 61 signatories; as of this writing, it has nearly 246, representing 56 million Americans.

If President Trump thought that members of the business and investment communities would be rushing to his defense after his announcement, he must be sorely disappointed this week. Overwhelmingly, they’re just as angered by the administration’s transparent display of bad faith as the rest of us are. That’s why nearly a thousand of them immediately attached their names to We Are Still In, a broad condemnation of the president’s actions that also serves as a signal to international investors, business partners, institutions, and governments that Donald Trump does not speak for the vast majority of Americans when it comes to climate action or the Paris Agreement. Alongside hundreds of elected officials and university and institutional heads, these business and investment leaders are openly acknowledging that the Paris Agreement represents “a blueprint for job creation, stability and global prosperity and that accelerating the United States’ clean energy transition is an opportunity—not a liability.”

Governors, mayors, business leaders, investors, institutional heads . . . and you. Suffice it to say that you are the final—and most crucial—component in what’s shaping up to be a new and necessary formulation of the #resistance. Every new day brings with it another opportunity for you to voice your objection to an American withdrawal from the Paris Agreement and to show President Trump—and the rest of the world—that the people of the United States refuse to renege on our climate commitments or to give up on the clean-energy future. Here are two such opportunities:

  1. Visit I Am Still In to add your name to the long and growing list of individuals who want to personally register their dedication to the principles of the Paris climate agreement despite our president’s foolish abandonment of it. More than a petition, this collaboration among more than 40 environmental and public-interest groups (including NRDC) is a message to the planet that the people of the United States can still be counted on—even if their leader can’t be.
  2. This Saturday, June 10, dozens of #ActOnClimate rallies will be taking place in cities and towns all across the country to protest the president’s withdrawal from the Paris Agreement, to support the governors and mayors who have stepped up, and to express continued solidarity with the worldwide fight against climate change. Check here to see if one is taking place near you—and if it is, then be there.

No president—not even one as power-hungry and authoritarian as Donald Trump—is stronger than the American people. But that’s true only when the American people come together and speak in one voice. The chorus is getting bigger and louder every day. If we want the whole world to hear it, we need your voice, too.

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