1 June 2017
Washington, D.C. – The following statement is attributable to Chris McEntee, Executive Director and CEO of the American Geophysical Union:
“When signed in December 2015, the Paris Agreement marked a historic moment. Representatives of 195 nations came together to commit to lowering greenhouse gas emissions to help slow the far-reaching effects of climate change to the nation and the world.
Today, in making a troubling, shortsighted decision to withdraw the U.S. from the agreement, the Trump Administration has signaled to the world that it does not value the urgency with which we must act on climate change.
AGU past president Margaret Leinen – who was present at the proceedings of the Paris Agreement – noted that by adopting the agreement, the signatory nations had taken decisive steps to collectively reaffirm the real and serious effects of climate change, while laying out a strategy that would keep global temperature rise below 2 degrees Celsius, thus helping to lessen the most severe impacts on people’s lives and society at large.
Far from being a poor investment for the United States, the Paris Agreement represents the global community’s best chance of limiting both the risks and costs to the global economy from climate change. In 2012 alone, climate disasters cost the U.S. economy more than $100 billion. Moreover, U.S. involvement in the agreement allows us to stay in the race for the technological and economic benefits of a clean energy future. In contrast, by withdrawing from the Paris Agreement and turning our back on the global community, we upend the efforts by U.S. businesses to compete globally.
AGU has recognized that humans are the primary driver of modern climate change and has called for an urgent response since 2003, the year we first issued a position statement titled, “Human-Induced Climate Change Requires Urgent Action.” As the scientific consensus only grows stronger, our position has not changed. As the world’s largest scientific society of Earth and space scientists, AGU “stands ready to contribute to the agreement’s call to ‘strengthen scientific knowledge on climate, including research, systematic observation of the climate system and early warning systems, in a manner that informs climate services and supports decision-making.’”