Washington, D.C. – Ahead of this week’s G-7 meeting, Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) joined Senate Democratic Leader Charles E. Schumer, and Senators Ben Cardin, Ranking Member on the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations; Tom Carper, Ranking Member on the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works; Maria Cantwell, Ranking Member on the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources; Sheldon Whitehouse; Brian Schatz; and Ed Markey to urge President Trump to keep the United States party to the Paris Climate Agreement. In the new letter to the President, 40 Senate Democrats argued that backing out of the agreement now, after the years of negotiations and strong U.S. leadership on the issue, would be a self-inflicted injury to America’s economy and leave U.S. interests unrepresented on the world stage. In the newly released letter, Senators said that reneging on the agreement could put American health and safety at risk, and would leave the American economy and our small businesses to miss out on vital investment and job opportunities while the rest of the world moves forward with trillions of dollars of investment in resilient infrastructure, low-carbon energy, sustainable agriculture, and new technologies.
The senators who signed this letter to the President include: Senators Chuck Schumer, Dick Durbin, Ben Cardin, Tom Carper, Maria Cantwell, Ed Markey, Sheldon Whitehouse, Brian Schatz, Al Franken, Tom Udall, Jeanne Shaheen, Bob Menendez, Michael Bennet, Patty Murray, Tammy Baldwin, Richard Blumenthal, Jeff Merkley, Gary Peters, Maggie Hassan, Cory Booker, Kirsten Gillibrand, Kamala Harris, Patrick Leahy, Bernie Sanders, Amy Klobuchar, Ron Wyden, Bob Casey, Jack Reed, Sherrod Brown, Bill Nelson, Mazie Hirono, Dianne Feinstein, Chris Van Hollen, Debbie Stabenow, Chris Murphy, Elizabeth Warren, Tim Kaine, Tammy Duckworth, Martin Heinrich, and Chris Coons.
A copy of the letter from Senate Democrats appears below:
President Donald Trump
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20500
Dear Mr. President,
We write to express our strong support for the Paris Climate Agreement, and to urge you to keep the United States party to the agreement.
The reality of climate change is unforgiving. The three hottest years ever recorded were 2016, 2015, and 2014. The global temperature in 2017 is on pace to break this record yet again. American communities are already feeling the impacts of climate change. City streets from Boston to Baltimore to Miami are flooding at high tide. Western states are just now emerging from years of punishing drought. In recent weeks, extreme downpours have led to deadly floods in the South and Midwest. Doctors and scientists have identified climate change as a significant threat to Americans’ health. The pace and severity of these changes on a global scale prompted military experts in both the Bush and Obama Administrations to identify climate change as a national security threat. Faith leaders from around the world have called for urgent action to address climate change—and especially its impact on the poorest and most vulnerable. Simply put, climate change puts Americans’ health, safety, and livelihoods at risk.
Businesses and the American people have taken notice. In 2015, more than 150 major U.S. companies, from Alcoa to Xerox, signed on to The American Business Act on Climate Pledge ahead of the Paris negotiations, and made their own commitments to reduce emissions, use cleaner energy sources, and boost sustainability. The Pledge reads, in part: “We support the conclusion of a climate change agreement in Paris that takes a strong step forward toward a low-carbon, sustainable future. We recognize that delaying action on climate change will be costly in economic and human terms, while accelerating the transition to a low-carbon economy will produce multiple benefits.”
Since that time, more than 1,100 companies of all sizes, with combined annual revenue of $1.2 trillion, have affirmed their commitment for implementing the Paris Agreement by signing the Business Backs Low-Carbon USA pledge. Fossil fuel companies ExxonMobil, BP, and Shell, as well as iconic American companies like Walmart, Microsoft, Google, and Mars, support remaining a party. And just this week, more than 200 global investors representing more than $15 trillion in assets wrote to the heads of the G7 nations, urging leaders to stand by the Paris Agreement. And support for this landmark international agreement goes beyond the corporate world, with majorities of Americans in every state saying that the United States should participate in the Paris Agreement.
While American communities and businesses grapple with the impacts of climate change, we know that this is a global challenge—and it demands a global response. That is why the Paris Climate Agreement is so vital. For the first time, the Paris Agreement provides a platform in which all countries acknowledge that they have a responsibility to do their fair share to curb the carbon pollution that is driving climate change—including other major emitters like China and India.
Backing out of the Paris Agreement now, after the years of painstaking negotiations and strong U.S. leadership it took to get the world to this point, would be a self-inflicted injury to America’s credibility and influence on the world stage. Over the next several years, parties to the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change will meet to determine how the Paris Agreement will be implemented when it goes into effect in 2020. Issues of longstanding bipartisan interest will be discussed and decided in those meetings, including matters of transparency and verification of emissions reductions from other countries.
A U.S. retreat from the Paris Agreement would isolate us from the 196 nations working together within the framework of the Paris Agreement, reaching outcomes on international economic policy that will effect U.S. interests whether we are party or not. A retreat from Paris would harm the trust, faith, and goodwill that America has earned from other nations, and will inevitably harm our ability to work cooperatively to advance our foreign policy goals. Our allies were insulted by the Bush Administration’s decision to withdraw from the Kyoto Protocol, and we suffered real foreign policy and diplomatic setbacks as a result.
If the United States is not at the table as a participant in this process, our interests will not be represented. We will be left out and left behind, sitting on the sidelines with Syria and Nicaragua, the only other countries in the world not participating in the Paris agreement. Our economy and our small businesses will miss out on vital investment and job opportunities, while the rest of the world moves forward with trillions of dollars of investment in resilient infrastructure, low-carbon energy, sustainable agriculture, and new technologies.
For the sake of our economy, our national security, and Americans’ health and future, we ask that the United States remain a party to the Paris Agreement and continue to participate in the UNFCCC process.
Chris Van Hollen