New York’s state and federal representatives sounded off as President Donald Trump debated whether to pull the United States out of an international agreement it made in 2015 to commit to battle climate change.
Major news organizations were abuzz on Wednesday as the president mulled if he should stick to one of his campaign promises: reject the rest of the world and leave the Paris climate agreement in the interest of American businesses.
“I think [for the interest of the economy] is a shallow reason to withdraw,” said Isabel Livingston, of Germantown. “I don’t understand why he would leave the agreement.”
The New York Times reported at 10 a.m. that day, using unnamed official voices, that the president decided already to withdraw from the accord that President Barack Obama signed, along with 194 other countries, in 2015 and was officially ratified last year.
The Times also reported that Trump’s chief strategist Steven Bannon and his Environmental Protection Agency administrator Scott Pruitt were pushing the president to withdraw, while his son-in-law and senior adviser Jared Kushner and his daughter Ivanka, pushed for him to stay a part of the accord.
The aim of the accord is to reduce the amount of emissions that add to the warming of the planet to avoid hitting the threshold of atmospheric temperatures scientists warn will be the point of no return from extreme weather conditions.
“It is probably not a good idea to pull out of the accord,” said Frank Latoraca, of Franklin. “I’m not saying I don’t believe in climate change but it is hard to believe we could cause all this. It is apparent there is a problem though.”
Dan Lerner, of East Durham, was sure about climate change. “I think climate change is caused by man-made activity. I believe in science,” Lerner said. “Hopefully, this interlude with Donald Trump will be short lived and we can get back on the right course.”
Trump made the promise to renege on the agreement during his campaign, specifically directed to oil and coal workers.
Exxon Mobile’s chief executive Darren Woods also called for Trump to stay true to the agreement, the Times reported.
“The climate is important for farmers and climate change is a very important issue that needs to be discussed,” said Dan McManus, of Common Hands Farm, and who lives in Hudson. “We need our officials to speak for us because [farmers] are too busy to go to every march or protest. We are counting on our political leaders.”
The president even considering leaving the accord and joining only two other countries, Nicaragua and Syria, who rejected the accord, sparked ire from New York officials in Albany and Washington.
Several Senate Republicans sent the president a letter on May 25 telling him he should withdraw from the climate agreement, but Wednesday their colleagues across the aisle took to twitter and spoke out against the idea.
“Withdrawing from the Paris agreement would be a complete disaster for our future, an absolute failure of leadership and vision,” said U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y.
“We must do all we can to protect our planet as well as our economic security,” said U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y. “Withdrawing from the Paris agreement would put this in jeopardy.”
U.S. Rep. John Faso, R-19, refused to comment on the possible decision until the president announces it.
“I look forward to providing my thoughts on the administration’s decision if and when it makes the announcement to officially withdraw from the non-binding agreement,” Faso said. “I believe that agreements such as the Paris accord should be submitted to the U.S. Senate for ratification, in accordance with the Constitution. The Paris accord does have potentially significant impacts on the economy and as such should be considered as a treaty. Since the previous administration did not get Senate ratification, successive administrations are not legally bound to honor the agreement.”
Gov. Andrew Cuomo said New York will continue to fight climate change on its own without the support of the federal government.
“With or without Washington, we’re working to aggressively fight climate change,” Cuomo said. “New York committed to tackling climate change, but we can’t go it alone. I urge the federal government to remain in the Paris agreement.”