Mayor Robert Garcia signed the Compact of Mayors in 2015 pledging for Long Beach to join the fight against climate change. Photo: Stephanie Rivera
With President Donald Trump expected to pull the United States out of the landmark Paris climate agreement this week, a move that could seriously imperil global efforts to combat further warming of the planet and the disastrous consequences that are projected to accompany it, Long Beach leaders are standing firm on their green agendas.
The decision, yet to be publicly announced by the White House, has been reported by several media outlets including the New York Times and the Washington Post and sourced by “officials with knowledge” of the situation. If announced in the next few days as Trump has promised in a tweet Wednesday morning, it would come mere days after leaving his first trip abroad where he was urged by European Union leaders to remain in the agreement and stick to the goals agreed to by former President Barack Obama.
Over 190 nations had agreed to the pact which was officially adopted in December 2015 with aims of curbing the effects of global warming. Prior to November’s election nations who originally signed onto the pact raced to ratify to stave off a Trump election and his campaign promises to pull the US out of the agreement.
While the Paris agreement was seen as a step in the right direction, it has received criticisms that it would not do enough and that it would merely cut global greenhouse gases by half the amount needed to avoid an atmospheric temperature increase of 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit, a mark largely regarded as a point of no return when it comes to a future that will include severe sea level rise, droughts, flooding and other destructive weather occurrences.
An exit by the United States, the second largest carbon dioxide emitter in the world, from that pact could speed up the timeline in which global temperatures reach the 3.6 degree mark.
As news broke Wednesday that Trump was potentially planning on pulling out of the agreement, Mayor Robert Garcia and Congressman Alan Lowenthal defended the need to remain in the agreement.
Garcia said that Long Beach would remain committed to fighting climate change and that with or without federal action, the city would remain committed to the reduction goals outlined in the Paris agreement.
“Climate change is the single greatest long term threat to our planet,” Garcia said in a statement. “Withdrawing from the historic Paris Agreement would deal a devastating blow to our country and this coastal city.”
In November 2015 Garcia signed onto the Compact of Mayors, an initiative launched by United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and former New York Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, which challenged mayors around the world to commit their cities to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, track their progress and to prepare their cities for climate change impacts.
Lowenthal, who represents California’s 47th District including most of Long Beach, sits on multiple sub-committees that deal with environmental issues and energy production. He called Trump’s anticipated move to pull the country out of the agreement “an act of cowardice.”
“The Trump administration has a blatant disregard for the truth and is determined to turn the misleading claims and tired talking points of a handful of billionaires and their lobbyists into pro-polluter policy,” Lowenthal said in a statement. “Pulling out of the Paris Accord will have long lasting negative impacts on the health, safety, and prosperity of our families.”
The Trump Administration drew criticism during its first 100 days when it surgically removed mentions of climate change from multiple government websites and successfully appointed a noted climate change denier as the head of the Environmental Protection Agency.
Currently the official White House website lists issues pertaining to jobs, trade, energy production and “Making Our Military Strong Again”, but makes no mention of climate change.
The agreement had been signed by every nation in the world except Nicaragua and Syria, which has been mired in a civil war for nearly seven years. Trump promised in a tweet Saturday that his decision to keep the United States in the agreement or pull it out would be made final this week.