Universal Backlash From Leaders on Trump’s Paris Blunder

The blowback to President Trump’s announcement to exit the Paris climate agreement came swift and thunderous. Only such a generationally irresponsible move could raise the ire of leaders across all walks of society so quickly. Leaders from business, security, faith, and labor, as well as government leaders at all levels, roundly condemned Trump’s move as a colossal failure of responsibility to protect people, and a failure to capitalize on the economic opportunities of the clean energy economy.

In announcing America’s withdrawal from the world, Trump rationalized the decision by saying, “we don’t want other leaders and other countries laughing at us anymore.” Far from laughing, the most common reaction from leaders was a sense of profound disappointment in Trump’s decision, accompanied by a strong resolve to double down their own and collaborative efforts to tackle the climate change challenge.

The only thing leaders are laughing about is Trump’s claim that he would seek to “renegotiate” the Paris climate agreement. No leader has expressed an iota of interest in renegotiating a pact supported by all countries in the world expect Syria and Nicaragua, and it is pretty tough to have any negotiating leverage when Trump has turned America into a global climate outcast.

Below are many of the strong reactions from world leaders, business and investment leaders, governors, mayors, and labor, security, and faith leaders that demonstrate just how isolated President Trump is on this irresponsible decision, both abroad and at home:

World Leaders

“China is a big country, and China will therefore keep to its international responsibility.”

Chinese Premier Li Keqiang

“India stands committed to its commitments made at Paris irrespective of what happens in the rest of the world. Clean energy is not something that we are working on because somebody else wants us to do it. It’s a matter of faith and the faith of the leadership in India. Nothing on Earth is going to stop us from doing that."

Indian Power, Coal, Mining, and Renewable Energy Minister Piyush Goyal

“The EU and China consider climate action and the clean energy transition an imperative more important than ever. They confirm their commitments under the historic 2015 Paris Agreement and step up their co-operation to enhance its implementation.”

European Union-China Joint Leaders' Statement

“We deem the momentum generated in Paris in December 2015 irreversible and we firmly believe that the Paris Agreement cannot be renegotiated since it is a vital instrument for our planet, societies and economies.”

Joint statement from German Chancellor Angela Merkel, French President Emmanuel Macron, and Italian Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni

“We are deeply disappointed that the United States federal government has decided to withdraw from the Paris Agreement. Canada is unwavering in our commitment to fight climate change and support clean economic growth.”

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau

Business Leaders

“Withdrawing from the Paris climate agreement is bad for the environment, bad for the economy, and it puts our children's future at risk. For our part, we've committed that every new data center we build will be powered by 100% renewable energy. Stopping climate change is something we can only do as a global community, and we have to act together before it's too late.”

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg

“It is extremely disappointing. Exiting international accords like the Paris Agreement will negatively impact trade, economic vitality, the state of our environment and relationships amongst the world community.”

Cargill CEO David MacLennan

“Amazon continues to support the Paris climate agreement and action on climate change.”

Amazon

—Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein

—Walt Disney Company Chairman and CEO Robert Iger

“The Trump administration's announcement undermines a key pillar in the fight against climate change and damages the world's ability to avoid the most dangerous and costly effects of climate change. Importantly, it is also out of step with what is happening in the United States.”

Over 1338 businesses and investors with $1.7 trillion in annual revenues, $2.5 trillion in assets under management, and 3.1 million American employees

Governors

“It is a serious mistake to back out of the Paris Accord. This is a historic global agreement between almost every nation on earth to address the single most pressing issue facing humanity. Abandoning this climate deal is like ripping off your parachute when you should be pulling the ripcord.”

Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper

Montana Governor Steve Bullock

“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.”

Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe

“I urge President Trump not to abdicate the United States’ global leadership and seat at the table on climate change – a pressing issue for Pennsylvania’s economy, especially energy, agriculture and tourism, and our resident’s health.”

Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf

Mayors

“We must not let the President’s decision today slow our efforts. As the energy capital of the world and the nation’s largest municipal purchaser of green power, Houston is leading by example and living proof that large, industrial cities can have a robust economy and also fight climate change.”

Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner

“The President’s denial of global warming is getting a cold reception from America’s cities. As 274 US Mayors representing 58 million Americans, we will adopt, honor, and uphold the commitments to the goals enshrined in the Paris Agreement.”

274 U.S. Mayors’ Statement

Labor Leaders

“Pulling out of the Paris climate agreement is a decision to abandon a cleaner future powered by good jobs.”

AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka

"The decision of the Trump administration to withdraw from the Paris Agreement sets back united action on climate and risks jobs.”

ITUC General Secretary Sharan Burrow

“This bad decision by President Trump won’t stop us from continuing the work we have already started. In the absence of leadership from a president who chooses the profits of corporate polluters over the needs of working families, those of us already fighting for change – especially on the city and state level - will be instrumental to building an America and a planet where every community can thrive.”

SEIU International President Mary Kay Henry

“Withdrawing the United States from the Paris agreement is an abdication of this country’s responsibility to fight the climate crisis and to capitalize on the significant job-creating opportunities in a clean economy. [...] Mr. Trump campaigned on a pledge to revitalize American manufacturing. But by withdrawing from the Paris agreement, the president is ceding jobs to other countries and shirking from the responsibility to address this historic crisis.”

BlueGreen Alliance Executive Director Kim Glas

“In response to the White House decision to withdraw the United States from the Paris Agreement, and as organizations representing the world’s architects, we express our continued commitment to designing a more sustainable world and to making the goals of the landmark 2015 Paris Agreement a reality.”

International Union of Architects President Esa Mohamed

“President Trump’s decision to withdraw from the Paris Agreement is an inexcusable blow to the U.S. economy. [...] Today’s announcement is a threat to innovative, green jobs in the United States. Americans do not have to choose between good jobs and a clean environment. The USW has long believed that America can have both.”

United Steelworkers (USW) President Leo W. Gerard

Security Leaders

“President Trump—along with those in his administration and his allies in Congress who support him—are making a catastrophic choice out of ignorance and short-sightedness. This is an abdication of not just American leadership, but baseline expectations of international cooperation and shared responsibility. Ultimately, his decision to pull out of the Paris Agreement will have real and serious consequences for American security and credibility that echo for generations to come.”

Truman National Security Project President and CEO Michael Breen

“The President’s stated decision to withdraw from the Paris Agreement will have serious, negative strategic implications for the United States. Backlash to the decision will damage U.S. national security in a number of ways, and will afford the U.S. no security benefits. […] It is therefore critical that the U.S. return to the international table in order to ensure that the U.S. both plays a leadership role in addressing the security implications of climate change, and maintains and broadens its strategic alliances and partnerships.”

Center for Climate and Security

Faith Leaders

“A slap in the face.”

Pontifical Academy of Sciences Chancellor Bishop Marcelo Sánchez Sorondo

“The President's decision not to honor the U.S. commitment to the Paris agreement is deeply troubling.The Scriptures affirm the value of caring for creation and caring for each other in solidarity. The Paris agreement is an international accord that promotes these values. President Trump's decision will harm the people of the United States and the world, especially the poorest, most vulnerable communities […]”

United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, Bishop Oscar Cantú

"President Trump’s announcement changes the U.S.’s leadership role in the international sphere. Despite this announcement, many U.S. businesses, states, cities, regions, nongovernmental organizations and faith bodies like the Episcopal Church can continue to take bold action to address the climate crisis.  The phrase, “We’re still in,” became a statement of commitment for many of us who regardless of this decision by our President are still committed to the principles of the Paris Agreement.”

The Episcopal Church Presiding Bishop The Most Rev. Michael B. Curry

“The decision by President Donald Trump to withdraw the United States from the Paris Climate Accord is not only disheartening but also puts God’s creation in further crisis. As the Bishops of The United Methodist Church, we issue this statement in defense of creation.”

The Council of Bishops of The United Methodist Church President Bishop Bruce R. Ough

“The president’s statement is a disappointment and represents a setback to our work as well as the work of other interfaith and ecumenical groups on the issue of the environment. But we will not be deterred. We will continue to work toward building an environmentally safe world, creating jobs and a new economy based on clean air and building on a more environmentally safe nation and world.”

Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) Stated Clerk for the General Assembly Rev. Dr. J. Herbert Nelson

“When large countries like the U.S. deny the reality of the climate crisis and pull out of commitments holding us accountable for doing our part to curb global temperature rise, we are turning our backs on the poor and vulnerable, which goes directly against our Franciscan-Christian values.”

Franciscan Action Network

“This is an abdication of responsibility to address global climate change and is both physically dangerous and morally reprehensible. The decision disregards vitally important environmental efforts to protect both our planet and the population, with consequences that will reverberate for generations.”

Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism Director Rabbi Jonah Dov Pesner

“The longer the U.S. denies climate change and fails to take responsibility for its outsized contribution to global warming, the greater the risk posed to the entire world, especially the poorest people on Earth.”

American Jewish World Service CEO Robert Bank

“I am not surprised, but I am profoundly disappointed that President Trump doesn’t have more compassion for the poorest people of the world who are suffering from the changing climate and more respect for 97% of the world’s climate scientists who have concluded without a doubt that humans are harming the climate. Abandoning the Paris Agreement is a sin.”

Interfaith Power & Light founder and President Rev. Sally Bingham

Additional leaders

“The Prime Minister expressed her disappointment with the decision and stressed that the UK remained committed to the Paris Agreement, as she set out recently at the G7. She said that the Paris Agreement provides the right global framework for protecting the prosperity and security of future generations, while keeping energy affordable and secure for our citizens and businesses.”

U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May

“I’m deeply disappointed by President Trump’s decision to turn his back on the hard-won wisdom of humanity.”

Japanese Environment Minister Koichi Yamamoto

“It is disappointing. We would prefer the United States to remain part of the [Paris] Agreement. We are committed to the Paris Agreement.”

Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull

“We are concerned about the negative impact of such a decision on multilateral dialogue and cooperation to address global challenges. […] The agreement allows each country to define measures and policies to regulate the emission of greenhouse gases, in the way that best suits their domestic circumstances, reconciling economic growth with environmental protection.”

Brazil

"South Africa therefore expresses its profound regret over the decision of the United States of America to withdraw from the Paris Agreement [...]. South Africa has full confidence that the momentum of the collective effort to address climate change will only accelerate. We recognise the outstanding contribution made to the fight against climate change in the US by past Administrations, states, cities, scientific organisations, civil society, business and individual citizens. South Africa therefore calls on the United States to reconsider its position and to re-commit to the multilateral process."

South Africa

“Mexico maintains its support and commitment to the Paris agreement to stop the effects of global climate change.”

Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto

“Today’s decision is not only disappointing, but also highly concerning for those of us that live on the frontline of climate change. As one of the United States’ closest friends and strongest allies we have long believed in the importance of US global leadership.”

Marshall Islands President Hilda Heine

“Tonight, president Trump has announced that the United States will pull back from the Paris climate agreement. I regret this decision. Tackling climate change is not only desperately needed, it offers worldwide economic opportunities.”

Netherlands Prime Minister Mark Rutte

Danish Prime Minister Lars Løkke Rasmussen

“It was not exactly an unexpected announcement, yet it is deeply regrettable. Politically, this is a very negative signal for global cooperation. This is a treaty that was accepted across the world.”

Swedish Deputy Prime Minister Isabel Lövin

“It is really disappointing the US has chosen to withdraw from the Paris Agreement, but New Zealand remains absolutely committed to it.”

New Zealand Climate Change Minister Paula Bennett

“This decision has an impact not only on the effectiveness of the Agreement as an instrument to respond to the global threat of climate change but also in the spirit of solidarity and cooperation demonstrated by the parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.”

Argentina

“The Government of Costa Rica regrets that the decision of President Donald Trump to withdraw the United States from the Paris Agreement could cause a setback on climate issues, because of his lack of understanding of U.S. responsibilities as one of the globe’s leading sources of emissions.”

Costa Rica

“As a low-lying, island city-state, Singapore is particularly vulnerable to the consequences of climate change and we have a deep interest in global efforts to address potential disruptions to natural ecosystems and human societies.”

Singapore

“President Putin signed this convention in Paris. Russia attaches great significance to it.”

Russian spokesperson Dmitry Peskov

“We are deeply disappointed by today's decision. Our commitment to the Paris Agreement is unshakeable. We have every reason to fight for its full implementation: our families, our health, our welfare, our security, our economies and our livelihoods. As responsible climate leaders, we will continue to move decisively towards a more sustainable and competitive economy. Let us see the Paris Agreement and the low-carbon transition for what it is: the growth engine of our jobs and economies, and the key to our collective prosperity and well-being.”

Joint statement by Ministers of the High Ambition Coalition representing 24 countries

“It is deeply disappointing to see the US shirking its responsibilities as a member of the global community. We are already seeing the impacts of climate change with record droughts, flooding and heat waves recently faced around the world.”

48 members of the Least Developed Countries

Apple CEO Tim Cook

“I absolutely disagree with the administration on this issue, but we have a responsibility to engage our elected officials to work constructively and advocate for policies that improve people’s lives and protect our environment.”

JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon

“We think countries working together on shared goals to reduce greenhouse gas emissions is a laudable and necessary goal.”

Walmart

Google CEO Sundar Pichai

Microsoft President Brad Smith

Tesla CEO Elon Musk

General Electric Chairman and CEO Jeff Immelt

“PepsiCo’s longstanding commitment to addressing climate change will not change.”

PepsiCo

“Despite the decision by the Trump Administration to exit the agreement, Campbell will continue to take action to address climate change, and we remain focused on delivering against our sustainability commitments.”

Campbell Soup Company

“We support the Paris climate agreement and the global efforts to address climate change. HP is working to ensure our business is resilient, innovating to mitigate the effects of climate change and adapting to a global evolving business and regulatory environment that supports our customers, partners, and employees.”

HP

“We were outspoken in our support for the U.S. to remain in the Paris Climate Agreement and are disappointed President Trump chose to leave the pact. We remain very focused on our own efforts to protect the environment, most notably our commitment to finance $100 billion in clean energy, infrastructure and technology projects which will help build a more sustainable economy.”

Citi Executive Vice President for Global Public Affairs Ed Skyler

“President Trump is ceding American leadership and sending a message to clean energy investors to look elsewhere for opportunities. It will inflict real financial pain on millions of American workers who earn their paychecks every day in the clean energy and clean transportation sectors. This action ignores strong public support for the agreement voiced by American businesses, big and small, in every state and every industry. Going back on America’s promises to the world – especially when they involve policies that create jobs, increase our competitiveness and make our country a better place to live – isn’t how you make America first.”

Environmental Entrepreneurs Executive Director Bob Keefe

“National Grid remains committed to addressing climate change head on and will continue to support our customers and communities to reduce harmful emissions and better prepare our economy for the future. In recent weeks, we have joined several of the largest US companies to urge President Trump to keep the United States in the Paris Agreement on climate change."

National Grid

“President Trump is misguided in his decision to pull out of the Paris Agreement. […] By opting out, the US administration is failing to recognise what is already an inevitable and irreversible direction of travel away from dependence on fossil fuels and towards a low carbon future – with all the jobs, growth and innovation that this entails.”

Institutional Investors Group on Climate Change CEO Stephanie Pfeifer

“Despite today’s announcement, Massachusetts is aggressively working to exceed the goals of the Paris agreement on a state level, while growing our economy through clean energy innovation and environmental stewardship.”

Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker

"The White House's reckless decision to withdraw from the Paris Accord has devastating repercussions not only for the United States, but for our planet. This administration is abdicating its leadership and taking a backseat to other countries in the global fight against climate change.”

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo

“He’s wrong on the facts. America’s economy is boosted by following the Paris Agreement. He’s wrong on the science. Totally wrong. California will resist this misguided and insane course of action.”

California Governor Jerry Brown

"Withdrawing the United States from the Paris Agreement is a grave mistake – and it is our future generations who will pay the price. Our nation has a proud history of leading by example and we do not cower from the hard work of making the world a safer place. History will judge this presidential administration harshly for its collective failure to address one of the most pressing global issues of our lifetime.”

Connecticut Governor Dan Malloy

“I am deeply disappointed that President Trump has chosen to withdraw the United States from the Paris Agreement that united nations across the globe in a fight against climate change. […] The world is now on notice that without the United States’ leadership in reducing greenhouse gases that fuel rapid climate change, it’s an even greater uphill battle for future generations facing this ever-encroaching threat.”

Delaware Governor John Carney

"Hawaiʻi and other Pacific Islands are already experiencing the impact of rising sea levels and natural disasters. That’s why my administration and the Legislature are already taking concrete steps to implement the Paris Accord.”

Hawaii Governor David Ige

"I am deeply disappointed that the President has decided to withdraw the United States from the Paris Agreement. Republicans and Democrats alike recognize that the Paris Agreement is about so much more than climate change. It's about opportunity, stewardship and America's standing as a global leader.”

Rhode Island Governor Gina Raimondo

"This is not an action the governor would have taken.”

Maryland Governor Larry Hogan

“The President’s decision to withdraw from the Paris Climate Agreement is disappointing and concerning, particularly given the widespread and non-partisan support from business and political leaders for remaining in the Agreement.”

Vermont Governor Phil Scott

“President Trump’s decision to withdraw the United States from the Paris Climate Change Agreement is terrible for our state, nation, and world. It will cause irreparable damage to our environment and our economy.”

Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton

"It is irresponsible for the president to deny these real-world implications. But I will continue to work with leaders on the West Coast, across the country, and around the world to address the challenge of climate change.”

Oregon Governor Kate Brown

"Washington state is leading the way on climate issues where Washington, D.C., is failing. The Paris Climate Agreement is a landmark international pact that represents our greatest opportunity to secure long-term U.S. and global economic security in the face of growing threats from climate change.”

Washington Governor Jay Inslee

Providence, RI Mayor Jorge Elorza

Phoenix, AZ Mayor Greg Stanton

"Austin will not stop fighting climate change. Worldwide, cities will lead in achieving climate treaty goals because so much of what’s required happens at the local level. Regardless of what happens around us, we're still Austin, Texas.”

Austin, TX Mayor Steve Adler

Knoxville, TN Mayor Madeline Rogero

“Washington, DC will continue to work with cities and countries around the globe to meet the goals of the Paris Agreement. […] At a time when our country should be leading the fight against climate change, it is disappointing to see us retreating into isolation. Fortunately, I am confident that leaders around the country will continue to think globally, act locally, and ensure that the U.S. remains a strong partner in the fight against climate change.”

Washington, D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser

About the Authors

Brendan Guy

Manager, International Policy, International program

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