It was widely reported yesterday that the Trump Administration is poised to withdraw from the Paris Climate Agreement. Today at 3pm, Donald Trump will hold a reality-TV type ceremony in the Rose Garden to announce his decision.
Climate Mobilization Director Margaret Klein Salamon issued the following statement:
Obviously, pulling the United States out of the Paris Climate Agreement would be destructive to the kind of international cooperation we need against the global threat of climate disruption. It is anti-democratic: an overwhelming majority of Americans support the United States participating in this agreement.
It would be a step backward—one more concession to fossil fuel extremists, who put short term profits over the survival of human civilization and the natural world.
However, we must keep in mind that the Paris Agreement itself is alarmingly gradualist and allows global carbon emissions to keep escalating until 2030, when science, morality and common sense dictate that global emissions must be approaching zero by 2030 at the latest. The Paris Agreement is based on wildly optimistic assumptions both about the sensitivity of the climate system, and about our ability to draw down emissions from the atmosphere in the future.
If the world simply follows the incremental course laid out by the Paris Agreement, civilization is very likely to collapse within this century, perhaps within the lifetimes of many alive today. The fact that so many politicians and major environmental organizations are uncritically championing the Paris Agreement indicates that the US climate movement is out of step with the enormity and urgency of the climate emergency.
While Trump’s decision is a step backwards, let's not kid ourselves about what the Paris Agreement accomplished. It was a symbolic victory, because the world finally agreed to take action on climate. But the action agreed upon is woefully insufficient to protect the billions of people and millions of species who are in grave danger already.
We need to go way beyond Paris. The climate movement must not simply play “defense,” attempting merely to protect or re-enter the Paris Agreement.
As Trump tries to repeal the Affordable Care Act, progressives are playing offense by aggressively making the case for a single-payer system of “Medicare for All.” Climate-concerned Americans should take a similar approach.
We must use the national wake-up call of Trump's leadership failure to demand and make possible the scale and speed of action that can actually save our civilization and restore a safe climate for all: a national economic mobilization on the scale of World War II to reach zero emissions, 100% clean energy, and 100% employment in the next decade, and begin removing excess greenhouse gases from the atmosphere.
Margaret Klein Salamon, Director, Margaret@theclimatemobilization.org, 734-476-5169
Anya Grenier, Head of Communications, Anya@TheClimateMobilization.org, 301-448-6168
The Climate Mobilization is a U.S.-based grassroots climate advocacy group organizing for WWII-scale national mobilization against the climate emergency, to reach zero emissions within a decade and begin restoring a safe climate for all.
For more context and scientific background, read climate analyst David Spratt's groundbreaking report "Climate Reality Check: After Paris, Counting the Costs."