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As Impeachment Pressure Grows, Trump Attacks Paris, California, and Climate

Declan Foraise

As two dozen Republican congressmen were disrupting the impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump’s activities, the president himself was in Pittsburg threatening to accelerate his withdrawal from the Paris Climate Agreement, and his attorneys were filing a suit in California to block a landmark cross-border climate arrangement.

23 October 2019 | US  President Donald Trump today reiterated his intention to pull the United States from the Paris Climate Agreement, which enters into force next year and is designed to prevent global temperatures from rising to catastrophic levels. He made the pledge at a meeting of the Marcellus Shale Coalition in Pittsburg, even as his attorneys were in California filing suit over the state’s joint cap-and-trade pact with the Canadian province of Quebec – a program initially set in motion by Republican Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger and carried forward by every governor since.

“Today is just the latest evidence that Donald Trump is the worst president in history for the climate and our clean air and water,” said Michael Brune, Executive Director of the Sierra Club. “Trump has proven beyond a reasonable doubt that he is guilty of perpetrating repeated attacks on clean air and water, and his polluting legacy is nothing short of sickening.”

Alden Meyer, director of strategy and policy at the Union of Concerned Scientists, also slammed the speech.

“President Trump’s anti-science stance that climate change is not a serious threat demanding meaningful action puts the profits of fossil fuel polluters above the health and well-being of current and future generations,” he said. “It also impedes the ability of American companies and workers to compete with other countries like China and Germany in the rapidly expanding market for climate-friendly technologies.

“Fortunately,” he added, “no other country is following President Trump out the door on Paris, and here at home, states, cities and businesses representing more than half of the U.S. GDP and population have committed to take action to meet the Paris Agreement’s goals.”

Chief among those states is California, which has emerged as a leading center of environmental innovation – not just for the United States, but for the world.

“Under Republican and Democratic governors, California rigorously designed this program to be on solid legal and constitutional ground,” said Derek Walker, Vice President in charge of US Climate for the Environmental Defense Fund (EDF). “California and Quebec are modeling an innovative, legally and environmentally robust program that cuts pollution and delivers economic incentives for cleaner energy, fuels and business practices.”

The complaint, which names Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom and others, alleges that California usurped federal power to conduct foreign policy and make international accords when it signed an ongoing agreement with Quebec to limit emissions.

 

Declan Foraise is a retired forester who primarily covers land use issues in Europe and Latin America.

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