Lexi Lehman is Earthworks’ Communications Intern.
On Thursday, President Trump announced that the United States would withdraw from the Paris Climate Agreement, significantly weakening American leadership in the global effort to fight climate change. After ignoring advice from his peers, scientists, business leaders, activsts and citizens, President Trump said he planned to negotiate for a ‘better’ deal. However this is not possible.
350 DC, a non-profit organization aimed at building a strong movement for environmental justice and climate change, hosted an emergency rally outside of the White House at 5 p.m. in response to the decision. The rally had in attendance over 20 different environmental organizations along with concerned DMV residents making their voices heard.
With the U.S. alone contributing about 20% of the world’s carbon dioxide, the decision could result in up to 3 billion tons of additional carbon dioxide pollution by 2030. In turn, this can warm the entire globe above the Paris agreement standard of 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels – causing catastrophic sea level rise, extreme droughts, storms and wild fires. Not to mention, food and water shortages.
The withdrawal also has several civic groups concerned about the future of human health and the quality of life for generations to come. Barb Gottlieb, from Physicians for Social Responsibility, spoke about the increased threat of heat stroke, heart disease and asthma due to global warming at the rally. She concluded her speech by asking the crowd how many people have or know someone with asthma. More than half of the crowd raised their hands.
Exiting the Paris agreement will have damaging consequences for communities living with fracking and mining. Rules limiting methane air pollution from fracking are now under attack. Methane pollution is 86 times worse for climate than CO2.
“President Trump’s decision to exit the Paris Climate Agreement sends a dangerous signal to the rest of the world that the United States values fossil fuel industry profits over clean energy innovation and the health and well-being of our citizens. The over 12 million people living within a half mile of an oil and gas facilities deserve action to reduce air pollution, not head-in-the-sand climate denial,” said Earthworks Executive Director Jennifer Krill.
Ultimately, everyone can contribute in their own ways against climate change. Although the Trump administration has made its stance, #iamstillin: Add your name to the list of Americans, along with 194 countries across the globe, who continue to support climate action towards the goals of the Paris Agreement.