Our Statement on President Trump’s Decision to Abandon the Paris Climate Change Agreement

By Michael Berkowitz, President of 100 Resilient Cities

The US government today has made urban leadership in combating climate change both more critical and more difficult. President Trump’s decision to reverse course on the Paris climate accord will not only hamper cities’ efforts to prepare for climate change — it will deprive them of billions of dollars to design and enact broader resilient solutions that could help them address a whole host of challenges. If done right, solutions used to address the shocks of climate change could also address the slow burning disaster cities face — seawalls could be designed to create more park land; parks could be designed to both lessen the heat island effect and to promote community cohesiveness; and more. Reneging on this agreement is an abrogation of US leadership and will directly impede global efforts to build proactive, resilient responses to an enormous array of 21st-century challenges.

But while the president’s actions undermine the landmark agreement signed by nearly every nation, it does not spell the end of climate leadership in the United States. From Seattle to Dallas to Miami to New York, cities are investing in resilient solutions that are preparing residents for whatever future our changing climate brings us. The creative, multi-benefit approaches to climate challenges that cities across the country are taking are now even more critical to the country’s future. While this is an ill-informed and disappointing decision, the global community should look past the White House to the urban centers — in America and around the world — for leadership on climate change.