The Overwhelming Tide of Support for the Paris Agreement

Who wants in, and who wants out?

If you’re reading this blog, you’re probably aware that since the day Donald Trump was elected, there have been looming fears that he would announce his intent to pull the U.S. out of the Paris Agreement.

But in case you’re a new reader to this blog, here’s a quick briefer. The Paris Agreement on climate change has been signed by every single country in the world except Syria and Nicaragua, and has massive global support from countries, businesses and individuals. Even the Eiffel Tower supports the Paris Agreement.

Source: Flickr

During his campaign, Trump pledged to “cancel” the Agreement, and has threatened to go back on the U.S. commitment several times. Since then, meeting after meeting on this topic has been postponed, and there appears to be a large rift even amongst White House officials on whether or not the U.S. should remain as a party to the Agreement. New reports indicate that Trump may make an announcement on his decision about the Agreement during the G7 summit in Italy this weekend.

The discussion over the Agreement is a bit like the “debate” on climate science: 97 percent of scientists agree that climate change is happening and manmade. Similarly, majority of people want the U.S. to stay in the Agreement. There is overwhelming support on one side versus the other.

Source: Climate Nexus

NRDC is keeping a running tally of all the businesses, individuals and groups that have spoken out on the Agreement:

American Business Supports the Paris Agreement

— CEO’s for some of the largest companies in America wrote an open letter to Trump supporting the Paris Agreement — including the CEOs of 3M, Campbell, Corning, Dana Incorporated, Dow, GE, Harris Corporation, Newell Brands, and Tesla, among others. These companies represent one-third of the manufacturing council that Trump put together to advise him. Hopefully he will take their advice with regards to Paris.​
— Twenty of the largest and most recognizable companies in America publicly cautioned against withdrawal from Paris, including Apple, BHP Billiton, BP, DuPont, General Mills, Google, Intel, Microsoft, National Grid, Novartis Corporation, PG&E, Rio Tinto, Schneider Electric, Shell, Unilever and Walmart.
“As other countries invest in advanced technologies and move forward with the Paris Agreement, we believe the United States can best exercise global leadership and advance U.S. interests by remaining a full partner in this vital global effort,” the letter says.
Over 1,000 American companies support Paris:
“We, the undersigned members in the business and investor community of the United States, re-affirm our deep commitment to addressing climate change through the implementation of the historic Paris Climate Agreement.” —
— 217 major institutional investors with more than $15 trillion in assets wrote in support of Paris:
“We reiterate our call for governments to continue to support and fully implement the [Paris] Agreement…We urge all nations to stand by their commitments to the Agreement.”
— Energy companies supporting the Paris Agreement include ExxonMobil, ConocoPhillips, BP, Shell, Total, Statoil, Cheniere Energy, Cloud Peak Energy, ​Peabody Energy and Arch Coal.

And it’s not just businesses. The scope of support is widespread. This comes as no surprise, considering that more than three million people work in the clean energy industry in the U.S., which generated $200 million in revenue last year. Inaction on climate could cost the U.S. trillions by 2100. Again, from NRDC:

Current Policymakers Support the Paris Agreement

Governors of states that accounted for one-third of the U.S. population and nearly 40 percent of US GDP have publicly urged Trump to stay in the Agreement.
“Given the progress our states have made in reducing greenhouse gas emissions, we are convinced that the United States’ goal of 26–28 percent below 2005 levels is readily achievable. Maintaining the U.S. commitment is essential to protect our residents, and indeed, all Americans from the potentially catastrophic impacts of a changing climate…We stand ready as state leaders to continue to support the achievement of the existing U.S. Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) to the Paris Agreement — and if possible to go further, faster…Collective action to limit emissions world-wide is critical; without collaboration, climate change will cost the world’s nations several trillion dollars in damages. Under the Paris Agreement, all the world’s major economies are taking action on climate change for the first time, including China and India, which have put forward their own commitments to cut their carbon pollution domestically.”
Governor Charlie Baker of Massachusetts and Governor Phil Scott of Vermont sent a letter to Secretary Perry in support of the Paris Agreement:
“We, the Republican Governors of states that have taken a leadership role in combating climate change, write today to request the United States maintain the commitment to the Paris Climate Agreement…We believe maintaining this commitment and the U.S. leadership on climate change is the right action for the protection of our children, grandchildren and future generations. It also allows us to maintain our global economic leadership.”
Fourteen attorneys general of the U.S. have urged Trump to remain in Paris.
“…the undersigned state attorneys general urge you in the strongest terms to maintain and reconfirm the United States’ commitment to this groundbreaking agreement.”
Seventy-five mayors across the country want Trump to uphold the U.S. commitment in the Paris Agreement:
“Climate change is both the greatest single threat we face, and our greatest economic opportunity for our nation. That is why we affirm our cities’ commitments to taking every action possible to achieve the principles and goals of the Paris Climate Agreement, and to engage states, businesses and other sectors to join us…As the “Climate Mayors”, we wrote to you during your transition asking that you work with cities on climate action — the nation’s first responders and economic hubs — and to embrace the Paris Climate Agreement commitment.”

The majority of Americans in every single state, even Trump voters, support the U.S.’s participation in the Paris Agreement. NRDC has more:

The Majority of Americans Support the Paris Agreement

Seventy percent of the American public support the Paris Agreement. This includes majorities of Americans in every state, with far more Trump supporters in favor of staying in Paris rather than withdrawing.

So maybe it’s easier to ask who does not support the Paris Agreement, because their ranks are far, far thinner. Scott Pruitt, the EPA Administrator, has called the Paris Agreement “a bad deal,” and Trump’s Chief Strategist Steve Bannon has reportedly been pressuring the president to leave the Agreement. Pruitt also managed to personally convince the National Mining Association to coming out against the Agreement.

That’s all, folks.

The American people, elected officials, and business leaders have been loud and clear that they support U.S. participation in the Paris Agreement. Now, we’ll have to wait and see if Trump listens.


This content originally appeared on NRDC’s expert blog and was posted here with permission. For the latest on support for the Paris Agreement, see the original post.


Bridgette Burkholder writes for I Heart Climate Scientists. You can follow her @bridgette_ck.