After months of conjecture about whether the United States would leave the Paris Agreement on climate change, the White House announced on Tuesday that President Donald Trump will not make a decision until after this month’s G7 summit. This shows the debate is still active, and that some in the Trump administration are recognizing that this decision has consequences.
In recent days, a number of voices have weighed in, many of whom have argued that it is in the U.S. interest to stay in Paris from economic competitiveness, security, and diplomatic perspectives. One of the issues rests on whether the Agreement legally bars the United States from lowering its emissions-reduction target, a clear distraction from the substantive implications of withdrawal from the landmark climate pact.
A rising chorus of powerful voices from the business, security and diplomatic communities have explained why the U.S. should stay in the Agreement. Here are some of them:
“U.S. business interests are best served by a stable and practical framework facilitating an effective and balanced global response. We believe the Paris Agreement provides such a framework.”
Letter to President Trump, signed by Apple, BP, Google, Microsoft, Shell, Unilever, Walmart and others.
“We have previously conveyed our strong support for the Paris Agreement and we reiterate our call for governments to continue to support and fully implement the Agreement.”
Letter signed by 217 investors representing more than $15 trillion in assets.
“I think global engagement is a good thing ... Instead of moving backwards let’s compete for the world.”
Jeff Immelt, Chairman of General Electric
“American business leaders understand that remaining in the Agreement would spur new investment, strengthen American competitiveness, create jobs, ensure American access to global markets and help reduce future business risks associated with the changing climate. Leaving Paris would yield the opposite.”
George P. Shultz, Secretary of State under Ronald Reagan, Treasury Secretary under Richard Nixon
“There is a huge necessity that the UN continues to involve all nations and co-ordinate the action of all nations to fight climate change.”
General Denis Mercier, NATO Supreme Allied Commander for Transformation
“Climate change will have the greatest impact on areas and environments already prone to instability, which aligns with DoD’s wider assessment of climate change as a threat multiplier.” U.S. Defense Department
“As retired military and national security leaders, we know that climate change poses strategically significant risks to U.S. national security, directly impacting our critical infrastructure and increasing the likelihood of humanitarian disasters, state failure, and conflict . . . [A]ddressing these security issues is going to primarily be a civilian-led exercise. As Secretary Mattis himself recently stated, “...climate change is a challenge that requires a broader, whole-of government response.” The State Department’s role in that whole of government response will be crucial in the days, months and years ahead.”
“The Paris Agreement is a milestone in the history of climate governance. We must ensure this endeavor is not derailed ... All parties should work together to implement the Paris Agreement. China will continue to take steps to tackle climate change and fully honor its obligations.”
Xi Jinping, President of China
“Billions of people are losing the ability to feed themselves. Don’t let the whole side down by leaving, just when we have a game plan.”
Frank Bainimarama, Prime Minister of Fiji