APAs in Congress Respond to U.S. Withdrawal from Climate Accord

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WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump on June 1 announced his decision to withdraw the U.S. from the Paris Climate Agreement, which was adopted by 195 countries to keep climate change below 2 degrees Celsius.

Following are reactions from Asian Pacific American members of Congress (some statements were issued prior to the announcement):

Sen. Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii): “President Trump’s decision … is irresponsible, hasty, and short-sighted. In Hawaii we understand why it’s important to take care of our land, ocean, and air – our way of life depends on it. Today, it’s more important than ever for states like Hawaii to boldly take the lead on clean energy innovation and good stewardship of our aina [land].”

Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.): “We can all agree that all people should be able to breathe clean air and live in a safe and healthy environment. Pulling out of the Paris Agreement is an irrational decision that is a disastrous step backward, threatens the future viability of our planet for future generations, and abdicates our role of leadership. The United States has an obligation to combat this global threat to public health and safety here at home, and abroad.

“As this administration retreats, I will continue to work to support California’s efforts to lead the fight against global climate change.”

Sen. Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.): “Climate change is one of the gravest environmental, economic and national security threats of our time, and we’re already experiencing its devastating effects in Illinois and across the country. Our military leaders have long understood that increased famine and drought caused by climate change is contributing to political instability across the globe – but it seems that our president does not.

“Instead of leading the way towards a more sustainable future, he is prepared to retreat from our global responsibilities and deliver yet another a self-inflicted blow to America’s credibility on the world stage by having our country join Syria and Nicaragua as the only three countries not party to this agreement. While the rest of the world moves forward with trillions of dollars of investments in clean energy jobs and technologies, America is losing its influence and our economy is being left behind.”

Rep. Judy Chu (D-Pasadena): “Walking away from the Paris Climate Agreement signals that our nation is relinquishing our leadership role is safeguarding our planet. The decision to remove us from this critical agreement is a moral failing. The U.S. is one of the two largest carbon producers in the world. Our energy policies are contributing to rising ocean levels, more violent storms, and shrinking resources.

“And the pain of these changes is largely born by the poorest, here in our own country and globally. In fact, our own Pentagon has warned that if we don’t own our actions today, we will own the consequences tomorrow. That includes waves of climate refugees and resource wars.”

“This can be avoided by meeting our responsibility to ourselves and the world, staying in the Paris Agreement, and supporting investments in new technologies and policies that reduce emissions. This is the future and I urge President Trump to help usher us into it by maintaining our support for the internationally accepted Paris Climate Agreement.”

Rep. Ted Lieu (D-Los Angeles): “Though not surprised, I am deeply disappointed by reports of Trump’s intent to withdraw from the Paris Climate Agreement. Such a withdrawal would be misguided, ill-informed, and backward-looking. We should not be making America dirtier again. Abandoning the agreement would also result in the United States ceding its leadership in addressing carbon and methane pollution at a time when we cannot afford inaction.

“Now more than ever we need states like California as well as our allies overseas to fill Trump’s void and continue fighting for a greener planet.

“P.S. Coal is not coming back.”

Rep. Mark Takano (D-Riverside): “According to NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the Earth’s surface temperature in 2016 was the warmest in recorded history. It was the third year in a row to set a new record, and now 16 of the 17 warmest years on record have occurred since 2001.

“Ignoring science and isolating ourselves from our allies around the world will not change these facts. For the sake of our economy, our security, and the future of our planet, I hope President Trump will reconsider this decision.

“Withdrawing the United States from the Paris Agreement damages our credibility with allies and further jeopardizes the future of our planet. The president claims to follow a doctrine of ‘America First’ but this is yet another decision that will hurt Americans now and for generations to come.”

Rep. Doris Matsui (D-Sacramento), co-chair of Sustainable Energy and Environment Coalition, in a joint statement with Reps. Gerry Connolly (D-Va.) and Paul Tonko (D-N.Y.): “We condemn President Trump’s decision to withdraw from the Paris Agreement. Climate change is a pressing global problem that is putting lives at risk now and taking the planet as we know it away from our children and grandchildren. In a moment in history when the American people and the entire world need a bold leader to help us find a solution, Trump has proven that he doesn’t have what it takes to face this challenge.

“It’s up to the rest of us, working together, to lead the fight to protect our families and our planet. Action on climate change doesn’t just happen at the national level — cities of all sizes, states, and companies across the country are already leading the way on reducing greenhouse gas pollution. We urge mayors, governors, and CEOs to reaffirm their commitment to being part of achieving and surpassing the U.S. climate pledge. And as members of SEEC, we will continue to fight for funding and policies that protect our communities from climate change.

“Together, we can let the world know that America is still with them in building a cleaner economy and a safer planet for all.”

Rep. Colleen Hanabusa (D-Hawaii): “Scientific data confirms that climate change is real and the only way we can move forward, as a nation and world, is to make the admission and address the threat to our environment, air, land, health and way of life. President Trump’s decision today highlights one of the fundamental differences between Republicans and Democrats, and it is a sad statement that Republicans continue to refute science and the will of the international community on an issue of global importance.”

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-Hawaii): “President Trump’s decision today to withdraw from the Paris Agreement, making us just one of three countries in the world not to participate, is short-sighted and irresponsible. Without global action to drastically curb carbon pollution, climate change threatens the safety and security of the planet, especially in places like Hawaii, where we are already experiencing its devastating effects.

“The 2015 hurricane season set a record of 15 tropical storms in Hawaii, acidification of our oceans has killed marine ecosystems and fisheries, bleached coral reefs, while causing damage to local economies. As recently as April of this year, the Honolulu Harbor tide gauge peaked at more than nine inches above predicted tides — the highest daily mean water level ever recorded over 112 years.

“The United States should be leading by example, leveraging innovation through science and technology, investing in clean energy, creating renewable energy jobs that cannot be outsourced, growing the economy, enhancing U.S. energy independence, and lowering energy costs for families and businesses, while reducing carbon emissions. We must continue to persevere and do our part to support efforts in the private sector and at all levels of government to combat climate change and protect our environment.”

Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.): “By unilaterally pulling the United States out of the Paris climate accord, President Trump is setting our planet on a catastrophic course. This decision, based on falsehoods and the denial of climate change, would be a complete disaster for our cities, Washington state, our country and the entire world. It’s not a hoax – the science is clear on climate change.”

“It is our moral responsibility to transition our economy from fossil fuels to clean energy while ensuring that we sustain and create retraining programs, apprenticeships and good paying jobs for workers. We must also aim to collaborate with other nations in drastically reducing greenhouse gas emissions. In conjunction with experts and activists in the 7th [Congressional] District who are sounding the alarm, I will continue to resist an agenda that threatens vulnerable communities and the futures of our children.”

Rep. Grace Meng (D-N.Y.): “Pulling out of the Paris Agreement is not only dangerous policy for the environment, it is dangerous policy for diplomatic relations with our allies. It is a false choice to say that we must choose between the U.S. economy and the health of our planet. We can and should take steps to safeguard both. Already we are seeing the effects of climate change in rising sea levels, more extreme weather, and shifts in where plants and animals can survive.

“Climate change is not going away, and we must mitigate the damage that has already been caused. The president is wrong to pull out of this deal, and I sincerely hope he reconsiders.”

Rep. Stephanie Murphy (D-Fla.): “Addressing climate change and promoting clean, renewable energy is good for Floridians and the economy. That’s why I — along with Republicans, Democrats, businesses and environmental groups — oppose the president’s decision to withdraw from the Paris climate agreement. The United States should not only be a part of any international discussion on the environment, it should be a leader.

“Despite the president’s decision, I will continue working with Republicans and Democrats to find clean energy solutions that create jobs, preserve our natural resources and protect clean air and water for our families.”

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