Horowitz: State & Local Leaders Fill Void at International Climate Conference

Tuesday, November 07, 2017
Rob Horowitz, GoLocalProv MINDSETTERâ„¢

Rob Horowitz
The nations of the world are coming together in Bonn, Germany to wrestle with some of the thorny implementation questions arising out of the landmark Paris Climate Change Agreement as the 23rd Annual Conference of the Parties meeting conducted under the auspices of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCC) kicks-off.  While the Trump Administration has representatives in attendance at the meeting, President Trump’s announced intention to withdraw from Paris makes their influence ‘less than zero” to borrow from the title of a Bret Easton Ellis novel.

But despite President Trump’s abandonment of global leadership on an issue the rest of the world believes is of critical importance, the United States is being well-represented in Germany. State and local leaders, including Governor Jerry Brown(D-CA), Mayor of Los Angeles Eric Garcetti and former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, are among the many state and local officials to step in and fill the void,  The We are Still In movement--which refers to still committed to achieving the United States Paris commitments-- together with 40 separate organizations, are conducting a variety of information sessions at the Conference designed to demonstrate all the actions states, cities and businesses are taking to ensure that we still meet our Paris goals They will also unveil an ambitious expanded plan going forward. A Climate Action Center has been established at the Conference as a hub for these activities.

 These United States state, local, non-profit and business leaders have well-earned global credibility Together this critical mass of Americans with the power to continue the sound investments in renewable energy and energy conservation that have put us on the right climate path are going to make sure that the United States still meets the emission reduction goals to which it committed. As Michael Bloomberg, who now serves as UN Special Envoy for Cities and Climate Change, said, “Americans will honor and fulfill the Paris Agreement by leading from the bottom up – and there isn’t anything Washington can do to stop us.”

President Trump is not only out of step with the rest of the world on climate change; his position is refuted by the National Climate Assessment, a scientific report released by his own government this past Friday.  It asserts that the evidence that the planet is rapidly heating up and that the major cause is human activity has only grown stronger since the last report was released in 2013: “…stronger evidence has emerged for continued, rapid human-caused warming of the global atmosphere and ocean. This report, which has been thoroughly peer reviewed and endorsed by the National Academy of Sciences, concludes that it is extremely likely that human influence has been the dominant cause of the observed warming since the mid-20th century. For the warming, over the last century, there is no convincing alternative explanation supported by the observational evidence.”

Given the scale of the climate challenge, President Trump’s rejection of the scientific consensus accompanied by the assertive efforts of his EPA Director Scott Pruitt to roll back Obama climate policies, are still damaging.  However, thanks to state and local elected officials and business people all across America, the United States is still positioned to meet its Paris greenhouse gas reduction commitments and as a result, is doing enough to not provide a ready excuse for other nations to abandon their commitments.

So, we are well-represented in Bonn. Bloomberg, Brown, Garcetti and so many others are admirably filling the void, providing an essential reminder to the word that we Americans still embrace the climate challenge- no matter what our President says or does.  

Rob Horowitz is a strategic and communications consultant who provides general consulting, public relations, direct mail services and polling for national and state issue organizations, various non-profits and elected officials and candidates. He is an Adjunct Professor of Political Science at the University of Rhode Island

  • Gina Raimondo

    RI Governor

    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. 

    President Trump’s action will not deter Rhode Island from taking necessary steps to address climate change. Our action at the state level will create new jobs and attract new investment in the green economy. 

    We’ve set a goal to secure 1,000 MW of clean energy resources and double the number of clean energy jobs by 2020. Ocean State families and businesses are on the front lines fighting climate change. I will continue toward with the General Assembly and partners in other states to protect our environment and advance clean energy alternatives, while creating new opportunities for our workforce in the process. 

     
  • Jim Langevin 

    U.S. Congressman

    President Trump’s ill-considered decision to withdraw from the Paris Climate Agreement puts the future of our entire planet at risk. The withdrawal represents an abandonment of pledges to protect our environment and risks undermining the entire accord, which includes nearly every country on earth. In addition, the President’s action cedes Unites States leadership and means losing a seat at the table to negotiate global agreements in our country's best interest.

    The Obama Administration made significant progress toward slowing the rapidly warming climate by negotiating the Paris Climate Agreement to reduce greenhouse emissions on a global scale. Unwinding these commitments represents another assault by President Trump on the health of the public and the planet. His Administration continues to deny climate change despite the overwhelming scientific evidence that shows this is an ongoing human-caused crisis.

    Rhode Island is on the front lines of sea level rise, and our citizens will ultimately pay the price for inaction today. Communities like my hometown of Warwick are particularly vulnerable to the storms and floods that come with climate change. Warming seas have chased our traditional catch out of our fisheries and threaten to decimate our beloved Ocean State coastline. Abandoning the Paris deal, the culmination of a multi-year effort by world leaders, is an abdication of our responsibility to leave the world a better place for our children.”

     
  • Sheldon Whitehouse

    U.S. Senator

    “Donald Trump and his children said just a few years ago that climate change was ‘irrefutable’ and its consequences ‘catastrophic and irreversible.’ They were right. There is no denying the growing threat of rising seas, warming global temperatures, and melting glaciers and ice sheets. 

    But we can still avoid the worst if we quickly reduce carbon emissions. That is why ignoring reality and leaving the Paris Agreement could do down as one of the worst foreign policy blunders in our nation’s history, isolating the U.S. further after Trump’s shockingly bad European trip. 

    Trump is betraying the country, in the service of Breitbart fake news, the shameless fossil fuel industry, and the Koch brothers’ climate denial operation. It’s Sad. 

    America’s biggest corporations and investors urged the President to stick with international efforts to address the climate threat. They and all of us will now have to proceed with a seriousness of purpose commensurate with the threat, knowing of this President’s grave defects. 

    If you haven’t joined an environmental group, join one. If your voice needs to be heard, get active. If you are a big corporation with good climate policies that has shied away from engaging politically, it’s time to engage. And if you’re a university that teaches climate science, it’s time to stand up for your scientists. Whoever you are, help end climate denial and take action.”

     
  • Jack Reed

    U.S. Senator

    “President Trump’s decision to abandon the Paris climate agreement is a blow to the environment that makes us a less secure nation. Our military, which spends every hour of every day thinking about how to protect Americans says climate change is a problem and a real threat multiplier. Indeed, climate change is an established part of the military’s threat and risk assessments.

    The United States should continue to be a leader when it comes to protecting the planet; instead, the President is abdicating this responsibility. President Trump is unwisely putting the United States alongside Syria and Nicaragua in declining to be part of the Paris agreement. 

    The American people deserve better.” 

     
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