By Aswad Walker
Though the world is still reeling from President Donald Trump’s June 1 announcement that the United States is withdrawing from the historic Paris Climate Agreement, Houston’s Mayor Sylvester Turner and over 60 other “Climate Mayors” are promising to honor the agreement’s goals to fight what some are calling the world’s most pressing issue – climate change.
“Cities are front and center in the fight against climate change and we have to take action,” said Mayor Turner. “We must not let the President’s decision today slow our efforts. As the energy capital of the world and the nation’s largest municipal purchaser of green power, Houston is leading by example and living proof that large, industrial cities can have a robust economy and also fight climate change.”
Nationally, Houston is on the cutting edge of striving to become a greener, more eco-friendly city. In fact, Houston has reduced its greenhouse gas emissions by 35 percent since 2007 and was named the nation’s largest municipal purchaser of green power for 2017 by the U.S. EPA.
The Paris Climate Agreement is viewed as historic because it was the first time a global consensus was reached on the problem of climate change due to greenhouse gas emissions, and the common solutions the 195 participating countries vowed to enact. The agreement was forged December 12, 2015, and has been viewed as one of President Barack Obama’s most meaningful and far-reaching accomplishments during his tenure in office.
In the aftermath of the Trump announcement, world leaders from France, Germany, Britain, Canada and beyond have issued statements of deep regret and disappointment at a U.S. decision they believe will be detrimental to the planet for generations to come. The United States is now the third country to stand against the agreement, joining Syria and Nicaragua.
“Removing the United States from the Paris agreement is a reckless and indefensible action,” said Al Gore, the former vice president who has become an evangelist for fighting climate change. “It undermines America’s standing in the world and threatens to damage humanity’s ability to solve the climate crisis in time.”
Mayor Turner is Vice Chair of the Climate Mayors, a network of U.S. mayors working together to strengthen local efforts for reducing greenhouse gas emissions and supporting efforts for binding federal and global-level policy making. In response to the President’s decision, these Climate Mayors, representing more than 35 million Americans, doubled-down on their commitment to honor and uphold the goals of the Paris Agreement by issuing the following statement:
“We will intensify efforts to meet each of our cities’ current climate goals, push for new action to meet the 1.5 degrees Celsius target, and work together to create a 21st century clean energy economy. We will continue to lead. We are increasing investments in renewable energy efficiency. We will buy and create more demand for electric cars and trucks. We will increase our efforts to cut greenhouse gas emissions, create a clean energy economy, and stand for environmental justice. And if the President wants to break the promises made to our allies enshrined in the historic Paris Agreement, we’ll build and strengthen relationships around the world to protect the planet from devastating climate risks. The world cannot wait—and neither will we.”