Last Thursday’s decision to pull out of the Paris Climate Agreement was short-sighted and contrary to the best interests of this country, not to mention disappointing and embarrassing.
It fails to respect the science on climate change. It abandons the best opportunity we have to protect the health and well-being of American families and our children’s future. It runs contrary to the advice of hundreds of business leaders and investors who want the U.S. to lean into climate action — not run away and bury our heads in the sand. And it neglects the wishes of nearly 70 percent of the American public who want strong actions to curb climate change.
No one should want to cede the economic benefits of technology investment and innovation to other countries or raise doubts in the minds of our allies about our country’s willingness to abide by our commitments.
But while this administration’s decision makes zero sense from a public health, economic or diplomatic perspective, it will not sink the Paris Agreement. Other countries will continue to act, and in the absence of leadership from this administration, it’s up to us to stand with them.
Right now, people across America are getting organized. They know that at times like these, our democracy needs active and engaged citizens with energy, enthusiasm, and a renewed sense of commitment.
The Paris Climate Agreement represented a clear statement of our moral leadership on this issue. By pulling out of it, we’re sending a signal to the rest of the world that we don’t honor our commitments. It’s a dangerous precedent to set.
If we want to lead the world and reap the benefits of that leadership, the United States must lean into climate action, not away from it. We’ve been that nation before, and we can be that nation again.
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Former EPA Administrator