Politics

Pittsburgh's Mayor Slams Trump's Paris Agreement Comment

The mayor of Pittsburgh refused to let the president use the city's voters as justification for his decision to withdraw from the Paris Agreement on Thursday. 

Donald-Trump

On Thursday, Mayor Bill Peduto responded to a statement President Donald Trump made in the Rose Garden, where he announced his decision to abandon the international climate deal. Trump said that he was "elected by voters of Pittsburgh, not Paris" and that he was keeping a promise to "exit or renegotiate any deal which fails to serve U.S. interests." 

"As the Mayor of Pittsburgh, I can assure you that we will follow the guidelines of the Paris Agreement for our people, our economy & future," Peduto wrote in a tweet. He also corrected the president, noting that "Hillary Clinton received 80 [percent] of the vote in Pittsburgh" during the 2016 presidential election. 

Pittsburgh wouldn't be alone in its commitment to reduce carbon emissions as outlined in the Paris Agreement despite the country's withdrawal. At least 10 governors have made similar pledges, reaffirming their commitment, The Hill reported. A coalition of 61 mayors also vowed to uphold their commitment, CNN reported

"The president has already said climate change is a hoax, which is the exact opposite of virtually all scientific and worldwide opinion," California Gov. Jerry Brown said in a joint statement alongside New York and Washington's governors. "I don't believe fighting reality is a good strategy — not for America, not for anybody. If the President is going to be AWOL in this profoundly important human endeavor, then California and other states will step up."

John Coequyt, global climate policy director at the Sierra Club, told ATTN: that he's encouraged by the proactive role states and cities have taken to promote clean energy policies regardless of the federal government's stance. 

"This move is emboldening a bunch of governors and mayors and others who believe that we need to act on climate," Coequyt said. "When you combine that with the incredible transition in the U.S. away from coal toward clean energy, it's entirely possible that the U.S. will be actually in OK shape to meet [carbon emission reduction] targets at the end of this administration." 

In other words, Trump's move can be rendered merely symbolic if state, city, and local lawmakers take the initiative to enact and maintain policies that reduce greenhouse gases. There's nothing preventing these jurisdictions from moving away from fossil fuels and promoting clean energy alternatives.