ST. PAUL – Following President Donald Trump’s announcement that the United States will cease to participate in the Paris Agreement on climate change, Minnesota politicians have condemned the move and said the state will continue to pursue its own green efforts.
“President Trump’s decision to withdraw the United States from the Paris Climate Change Agreement is terrible for our state, nation, and world,” Gov. Mark Dayton wrote in a statement. “As damaging as this decision will be, it will not deter our efforts here in Minnesota. We will show the world what we can achieve by working together to conserve energy, to use cleaner and renewable energy, and to leave a livable planet to our children and grandchildren.”
Minnesota adopted a plan in 2007 to reduce emissions and combat climate change, though it has missed its projected targets in the last several years, reports the Star Tribune. State environmental officials do not anticipate the United States’ withdrawal from the Paris Agreement will affect what they call slow and steady progress.
Minnesota’s targets in the Next Generation Energy Act, signed by former Gov. Tim Pawlenty, are actually more ambitious than those of the Paris Agreements, reports the Star Tribune. The act calls for a 30 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2025, and an 80 percent reduction by 2050.
Minneapolis set itself the same standards in 2013 with the city’s climate action plan. In contrast, the Paris Agreement called for the United States to reduce its emissions by 26 to 28 percent by 2025.
“With characteristic recklessness and an utter lack of concern for the hundreds of millions of lives he will hurt, Donald Trump has unilaterally withdrawn from the Paris agreement, the world’s greatest achievement of climate diplomacy to date,” Minneapolis Mayor Betsy Hodges wrote in a statement. “‘Shameful’ doesn’t begin to describe it.”
Other Minnesota politicians have also gone after Trump for this decision, including on social media.
Rep. Betty McCollum called the move part of House Republicans “polluters-first agenda” on Twitter. In another tweet she said Trump’s decision would make him “a pariah in the international community.”
— Rep. Betty McCollum (@BettyMcCollum04) June 1, 2017
“US will be 1 of 3 countries not in #ParisAgreement,” Sen. Amy Klobuchar tweeted. “Not good for our economy, security, environment. Big step backwards.”
US will be 1 of 3 countries not in #ParisAgreement. Not good for our economy, security, environment. Big step backwards.
— Amy Klobuchar (@amyklobuchar) June 1, 2017
Rep. Rick Nolan called withdrawal from the agreement “a setback for all humankind.”
Addressing climate change is the great challenge of our time & @POTUS decision to withdraw from Paris Accords is a setback for all humankind
— US Rep. Rick Nolan (@USRepRickNolan) June 1, 2017
Emissions reduction targets for the Paris Agreement were separately negotiated for each participating country, and are to only be voluntarily enforced. As such, U.S. officials treated the agreement as an executive agreement rather than a legally binding treaty. In doing so, President Barack Obama’s administration bypassed the requirement for Congress to ratify the treaty. Trump repealed U.S. approval of the agreement the same way Obama approved it, by an executive order.