Attorney General Josh Shapiro joins with 19 Attorneys General in Coalition with Governors, Mayors, Business and Community Leaders Vowing to Support Principles of the Paris Climate Agreement

June 5, 2017 | Topic: Rights

Coalition Releases Open Letter to International Community Pledging Support for Climate Action

HARRISBURG– Following President Donald Trump’s announcement last week that the United States will withdraw from the Paris Climate Agreement, Attorney General Josh Shapiro today joined with 19 Attorneys General in a broad coalition with governors, mayors, business leaders and universities pledging to maintain their commitment to fighting climate change and abiding by the principles of the global agreement.

“President Trump’s decision to pull out of the Paris Climate Agreement does not change Pennsylvanians’ constitutional right to clear air and pure water,” said Attorney General Shapiro. “I’m proud to stand with my colleagues in a national coalition opposing the administration’s decision to withdraw from the agreement and I vow to continue to protect this right for the people of our Commonwealth.”

President Trump announced on June 1 that the United States would break ranks with more than 190 countries and leave the historic global commitment that entered into force in November 2016.  The signatories to the “ We Are Still In ” coalition, today released the following statement:

“We, the undersigned mayors, governors, attorneys general, college and university leaders and businesses are joining forces for the first time to declare, that we will continue to support climate action to meet the Paris Agreement.

In December 2015 in Paris, world leaders signed the first global commitment to fight climate change. The landmark agreement succeeded where past attempts failed because it allowed each country to set its own emission reduction targets and adopt its own strategies for reaching them. In addition, nations – inspired by the actions of local and regional governments, along with businesses – came to recognize that fighting climate change brings significant economic and public health benefits. 

The Trump administration’s announcement undermines a key pillar in the fight against climate change and damages the world’s ability to avoid the most dangerous and costly effects of climate change. Importantly, it is also out of step with what is happening in the United States.

In the U.S., it is local and state governments, along with businesses, that are primarily responsible for the dramatic decrease in greenhouse gas emissions in recent years. Actions by each group will multiply and accelerate in the years ahead, no matter what policies Washington may adopt.

In the absence of leadership from Washington, states, cities, colleges and universities and businesses representing a sizeable percentage of the U.S. economy will pursue ambitious climate goals, working together to take forceful action and to ensure that the U.S. remains a global leader in reducing emissions.

It is imperative that the world know that in the U.S., the actors that will provide the leadership necessary to meet our Paris commitment are found in city halls, state capitals, colleges and universities and businesses. Together, we will remain actively engaged with the international community as part of the global effort to hold warming to well below 2°C and to accelerate the transition to a clean energy economy that will benefit our security, prosperity, and health.”

For his role, Attorney General Shapiro vowed to aggressively enforce Pennsylvania’s environmental protection laws on the books and advocate for future changes. Since taking office in January, Attorney General Shapiro has hired Steve Santarsiero as Chief Deputy for Environmental Protection, settled a multi-state lawsuit against Volkswagen over emissions violations, and directed all divisions in the Office of Attorney General to prioritize environmental issues in the course of their work.

# # #