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Mass. Politicians Blast Trump After Reports Say He'll Withdraw U.S. From Paris Climate Deal

President Trump, accompanied by, from left, Vice President Pence, Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt and Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke, at EPA headquarters on March 28, 2017 (Pablo Martinez Monsivais/AP)MoreCloseclosemore
President Trump, accompanied by, from left, Vice President Pence, Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt and Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke, at EPA headquarters on March 28, 2017 (Pablo Martinez Monsivais/AP)

Reports that President Trump has decided to withdraw the country from the Paris climate agreement triggered harsh criticism from Massachusetts politicians on Wednesday.

Nearly 200 nations agreed to the landmark accord in late 2015. The nonbinding pact calls for reductions in global greenhouse gas emissions through individual voluntary pledges.

Relying on anonymous administration sources, multiple outlets reported early Wednesday that Trump has decided to withdraw from the agreement, or is expected to make that decision.

Trump, who recently called the Paris pact a "one-sided" deal, tweeted Wednesday that he'll announce his decision "over the next few days." Trump met with Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt on Tuesday. Pruitt has labeled Paris a "bad business deal."

At a quickly arranged news conference on Wednesday, Boston Mayor Marty Walsh urged Trump to reconsider the reported decision, a move Walsh said would be made for "foolish political reasons."

Walsh said the city will continue to reduce its emissions, regardless of a federal commitment.

"We will not let this be undone by foolish political reasons," the Democrat said. "Our city depends upon it, our future depends upon it, our future generations depend upon it, our planet depends upon it."

Gov. Charlie Baker, a Republican, said in a statement that the federal government opting out of the climate agreement "would be disappointing and counterproductive to the efforts and progress Massachusetts and other states have made to reduce carbon emissions."

Two weeks ago, Baker, along with Republican Gov. Phil Scott of Vermont, sent a letter to Trump, urging the president to remain in the Paris pact.

Many members of Massachusetts' all-Democratic congressional delegation also chimed in Wednesday, blasting Trump for his reported decision.

In a statement, Sen. Ed Markey said withdrawal from the accord would be "an economic, security and moral failure."

Sen. Elizabeth Warren tweeted that Trump "is about to surrender U.S. climate leadership on the world stage" by "selling out" to oil and coal corporations.

Former Gov. Mitt Romney — the 2012 Republican presidential nominee — also tweeted Wednesday in favor of the U.S. remaining in the pact.

Despite the strong criticism from Massachusetts politicians, there's been considerable debate among analysts about the actual impact of the Paris decision on U.S. emissions levels in particular. As NPR reports:

For all its symbolic importance, the decision may have little practical effect on U.S. carbon emissions. Trump has already taken steps to reverse many of the Obama administration's rules designed to cut carbon pollution. Those moves make it unlikely the U.S. will meet its Paris commitment in any case.

A European Union official told The Associated Press Wednesday that the EU and China will reaffirm their commitment to the climate accord this week.

Walsh said a U.S.-China climate summit, which had been planned for this summer in Boston, is now likely off the table.

With reporting by WBUR's Steve Brown

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Benjamin Swasey Twitter Digital Manager
Ben is WBUR's digital manager. He occasionally reports on economic and transportation policy, climate and social issues, and politics.

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