Bob Perciasepe's statement on the decision to withdraw from the Paris Agreement

Statement of Bob Perciasepe
President, Center for Climate and Energy Solutions

June 1, 2017

On President Trump’s decision to withdraw the United States from the Paris Agreement:

It is profoundly disappointing that President Trump is ignoring the many U.S. business leaders – and the strong majority of Americans – who want the U.S. to stay in the Paris Agreement. By withdrawing the United States from the Paris Agreement, the president is not only damaging the global climate effort. He is shirking U.S. responsibilities, severely undermining U.S. interests, and putting U.S. companies at a competitive disadvantage.

Other countries are very unlikely to be interested in renegotiating the Paris Agreement or in negotiating an alternative agreement. But the United States still retains the right to adjust the terms of its participation in the Paris Agreement by revising its target. We encourage the president to keep that option on the table as he seeks a “fairer” deal.

The president’s decision reflects a fundamental misreading of the economic stakes. As many of America’s leading companies made clear in full-page ads urging the president to stay in Paris, climate change poses significant economic risks, while climate solutions present enormous economic opportunities. The U.S. clean energy economy is expanding 12 times faster than the economy as a whole, creating hundreds of thousands of jobs. Weakening the U.S. effort and abandoning the Paris Agreement will handicap U.S. companies in rapidly expanding clean energy markets and could expose them to retaliatory trade measures.

Fortunately, in the absence of federal leadership, we can count on cities, states, and businesses to continue leading the U.S. climate effort. With U.S. emissions at a 25-year low, there is strong momentum toward continued reductions. But the fact remains – we ultimately will need robust federal leadership to achieve the steeper reductions needed by mid-century.   

It is also fortunate that other nations remain so strongly committed to the Paris Agreement and to doing their part in the global climate effort. The door will remain open to the U.S. to rejoin the agreement, hopefully with a renewed commitment to doing its fair share.

C2ES will continue working with other governments around the world to see the agreement effectively implemented, and with U.S. city, state, and business leaders to continue making progress at home in the spirit of the Paris Agreement.

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To speak to a C2ES expert, contact press@c2es.org or call 703-516-0621.

About C2ES: The Center for Climate and Energy Solutions (C2ES) is an independent, nonpartisan, nonprofit organization working to forge practical solutions to climate change. Our mission is to advance strong policy and action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, promote clean energy, and strengthen resilience to climate impacts. Learn more at www.c2es.org.