That Washington

Murray Joins 60 Mayors Who Promise to Uphold Paris Climate Accord Goals

"We will continue to be a leader in environmental justice as well,"

By Hayat Norimine June 1, 2017

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Heads of delegations at the 2015 UN Climate Change Conference who led the signing of the Paris Agreement.

President Donald Trump on Thursday kept another one of his big campaign promises and withdrew the U.S. from the Paris climate accord—leaving 195 nations that have made the commitments and joining just two other countries who rejected it, Syria and Nicaragua.

It's worth noting that neither of those countries' leaders deny the existence of climate change. Syria was internationally isolated in 2015 because of its civil war, and Nicaraguan officials said they believed richer countries—who cause more climate change—should pay more, the Washington Post reported. Both countries are much smaller, and have little influence on greenhouse gas emissions compared to the U.S.

Seattle's message? The city will honor the Paris accord's commitments, even if Trump won't. Mayor Ed Murray, joined by council member Mike O'Brien, said he'll continue to aim for the goal of 100 percent renewable energy by the year 2050, blasting the president for being at odds with science and putting the U.S. "in a corner with a dunce cap on."

"Seattle has emerged as a center for resistance to Trump's agenda, and we will continue to be a leader in environmental justice as well," Murray said at a press conference Thursday.

Murray and 60 other mayors—including from the six largest cities—across the country on Thursday pledged to "adopt, honor, and uphold the commitments to the goals enshrined in the Paris Agreement." And the list may be growing. 

"And if the president wants to break the promises made to our allies enshrined in the historic Paris Agreement, we’ll build and strengthen relationships around the world to protect the planet from devastating climate risks," the statement read signed by the Climate Mayors. The coalition of mayors—founded by Los Angeles mayor Eric Garcetti, former Houston mayor Annise Parker, and former Philadelphia mayor Michael Nutter—say they're dedicated to local efforts to cut greenhouse gas emissions. The officials promised to try to keep the earth's temperature rise at 1.5 degrees Celsius above preindustrial levels. 

O'Brien looked crestfallen Thursday and said it was a "really disappointing day."

"We will find a way to do the things necessary right here in our ensure that America is responsible for our actions in the past, and we'll be part of a coalition going forward even if we do not have the president as part of that," O'Brien said. "In times like these, I feel lucky to be in Seattle."

Updated June 2, 2017, at 1pm: This post corrects Murray's quote from "at" to "in" a corner with a dunce cap on.

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