State

NY attorney general wants Trump to keep U.S. in Paris Climate Agreement

Sara Swann | Senior Staff Writer

New York state Attorney General Eric Schneiderman on Tuesday demanded President Donald Trump to maintain the United States’ commitment to the Paris Climate Agreement.

New York state Attorney General Eric Schneiderman joined 14 other attorneys general on Tuesday to urge the White House to uphold the United States’ commitment to the Paris Climate Agreement.

The coalition of attorneys general vowed to continue “rigorously” enforcing environmental laws in their respective states, according to a release from Schneiderman’s office. On the campaign trail, President Donald Trump said he would “cancel” the agreement, potentially removing the U.S. from it.

Trump may be changing his mind, however, according to The New York Times.

“I’m proud to stand with my fellow Attorneys Generals in support of the Paris Agreement – because we know how essential it is to mitigating climate change’s growing harm to our global health, environments, and economies,” Schneiderman said in the release. “If the Trump Administration refuses to uphold its legal obligation to New Yorkers’ public health and environment, I am prepared to use every tool in my power to protect our people and our state.”

The Paris Climate Agreement, signed in December 2015, is a pact of 195 countries that have agreed to improve environmental standards in their countries in some form, according to The New York Times. It is the first agreement in history to include promises from both rich and poor countries to improve standards and took nine years of effort from the United Nations to pass.

While the exit of the U.S. from the pact would not kill it, the absence of the world’s largest economy and one of the world’s largest polluters — it is rivaled only by China — would significantly weaken its strength and effectiveness, per The New York Times.

Trump has said he will make a final decision on his stance toward the agreement before a meeting of the “Group of 7” leading world economies at the end of May, according to The New York Times.

It has also been reported that some top advisers of Trump are urging him to keep the U.S. in the agreement, although it would break a campaign promise.

In their letter to Trump, the state attorneys general highlighted the agreement’s importance, noting that it is key to national security, public health and the economy.

“The Paris Agreement, by securing commitments from countries the world over, reflects this collective interdependency and constitutes an unprecedented global effort to address a problem threatening the well-being of everyone on Earth,” reads the letter, per the statement.

Already, world leaders have questioned Trump’s plans and the potential effects if the U.S. was not to meet its promised goals.

This may be why some major businesses, including ExxonMobil, have advocated for the accord in the White House, per The New York Times.

The letter from the attorneys general was signed by the following states and territories: Connecticut, Delaware, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, the District of Columbia and American Samoa.

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