U.S. Exit from the Paris Agreement Disregards Science and Endangers Global Environment
By withdrawing from the Paris Agreement on climate change, the United States is abdicating its role as the world leader in using science-based information to inform policy. Business, political, and scientific leaders the world over are condemning the decision. More than 190 signatory nations agreed to take actions towards reducing future temperature increases and addressing the serious threats posed by a changing climate to people, livelihoods, and nature. The science-based evidence is clear that humans are driving climate change.
“President Trump’s actions to withdraw the US from the Paris Agreement are consistent with his earlier environmental policy actions. Unfortunately, the absence of science and scientists in the Trump administration has not changed. The U.S withdrawal shows a frightening disregard for science that jeopardizes the role that a healthy environment plays in human welfare,” commented ESA President David Lodge.
U.S. Governors and locally-elected officials are voicing their continued commitment to address climate change. World leaders from China, India, and the European Union and others announced their determination to keep their Paris Agreement pledges.
“Ecologists can take heart that hundreds of U.S. state and local elected officials of both parties, and a rapidly growing group of prominent U.S. business leaders are using our science to make important decisions about products, practices, and policies every day. Instead of ignoring what science reveals, they are redoubling their efforts to slow climate change and increase the resilience of biodiversity, ecosystems, and human society even without federal leadership,” said Lodge.
Reversing course now is counter-intuitive to the U.S. tradition of innovation, which produces clean energy to replace fossil-fuel energy and serves as a catalyst for economic growth and job creation.
“Solar and wind energy is now often cost competitive with electricity generated by fossil fuel burning power plants. Renewable energy, advanced battery technology development, and other forms of the clean energy industry will continue to drive economic growth where policies enable that growth. There is a great risk that by pulling out of the Paris Agreement, the administration is ceding even greater economic and manufacturing leadership to China, Germany, and other countries. This action is counter to the best interests of the U.S. and counter-productive for global environmental protection,” said Lodge.
Our planet is already changing. Current climate trends are bringing great disruption to ecosystems and the many species that share this planet—including people. We depend on ecosystems for the pollination of our crops, the support of our fisheries, the cleanliness of our water—and the integrity of wild areas enjoyed by fishers, hunters, hikers, and boaters. Intact ecosystems improve soil, filter water, store carbon, and cycle nutrients.
“We know that ecosystems provide these benefits, but climate change and other global changes are overwhelming the ability of ecosystems protect us,” said Lodge. “Reversing the US Clean Power Plan and other steps already taken by the administration endangers ecosystems that provide the life-support for human beings in the US and across the globe. U.S. withdrawal from the Paris Agreement only adds insult to injury to the other nations of the world that are using science-informed policy.”
The Ecological Society of America, founded in 1915, is the world’s largest community of professional ecologists and a trusted source of ecological knowledge, committed to advancing the understanding of life on Earth. The 10,000 member Society publishes five journals and a membership bulletin and broadly shares ecological information through policy, media outreach, and education initiatives. The Society’s Annual Meeting attracts 4,000 attendees and features the most recent advances in ecological science. Visit the ESA website at https://www.esa.org.