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Latest Press Release

May 5, 2017

Peoples Climate Marchers Support Paris Climate Accord

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 5, 2017
Contact: Harrison.Beck@peoplesclimate.org


2014 March Helped Pressure Negotiators to Support Deal

Washington, D.C.: In 2014, with the United Nations Framework Convention scheduled to hold its last meeting before the historic 21st Conference of the Parties, more than 400,000 people marched through the streets of New York City for the first Peoples Climate March. Many commentators have pointed towards the march as one of the key instigators that catalyzed the Paris Agreement, the most comprehensive global agreement to address climate change to date.

On April 29, 2017, on the 100th day of the Trump presidency, with the administration more reticent to climate and community protections than any in recent memory, the 2017 Peoples Climate March mobilized more than 200,000 people to march in Washington, D.C. to demonstrate the public support for bold action to address climate change rooted in economic and racial justice.

“The march was never intended to convince the President one way or another, but was rather meant to show the world that people will move forward on climate no matter who is the sitting president or Majority Leader,” said Paul Getsos, National Coordinator for the Peoples Climate March. “Our movement is massive and includes a variety of industry sectors, religions, geographies, socioeconomic backgrounds and cultures. We will continue to push for bold action to address climate change regardless of who is in power. We are the majority.”

Having promised to “cancel” the agreement during his campaign, President Trump claimed in a recent interview that he was weighing whether or not to pull out of the Paris Agreement, saying that the United States was paying too much to other countries to address climate change compared to other nations signed onto the agreement. Should the Administration decide to end the United States’ commitment to the Paris Agreement, the Peoples Climate Movement stands poised to resist.


Quote Sheet:

Mary Kay Henry, International President, Service Employees International Union (SEIU): “SEIU members and our families live and work in the front-line communities most impacted by air and water pollution and climate change. In 2014, our communities stood together around the globe in the largest climate demonstration to move world leaders from climate talk to climate action. Together, we made that happen with the historic Paris Climate Agreement and we refuse to stand by idly by while President Trump and self-interested politicians like him attempt to pull back this vital agreement to propel the profits of corporate polluters over the needs of working families. We will continue to join with our brothers and sisters across the nation and around the world, like we did this past weekend, in massive actions to fight for the clean air and water and environmental protections our communities need to thrive.”

Rev. Fletcher Harper, Executive Director, GreenFaith: “The Paris Agreement represents a promise, a commitment, to our children, to workers, to communities globally — particularly the world’s poorest communities — that we will work together to create a healthy, safe, prosperous future for all people, powered by abundant clean energy. Every day that this administration minimizes the threat posed by climate change, it breaks that promise and reneges on that commitment.”

Tom BK Goldtooth, Executive Director, Indigenous Environmental Network: “Trump abandoning the US commitment to the Paris climate treaty to pursue efforts to limit temperature increases to 1.5 degrees Celsius would be a governmental act of environmental racism perpetuated against frontline communities experiencing the worst impacts of a changing climate, toxic poisoning, and ecological degradation from an expanding fossil fuel industry. Our Native American and people-of-color communities are already facing disproportionate impacts and loss of life from climate change and unpredictable weather events.”

Cindy Wiesner, National Coordinator, Grassroots Global Justice Alliance: “We already know that the glaciers are melting, that we are living through the hottest years in human history, that droughts, floods, wildfires, and other extreme weather events are rising across the world. As one of the wealthiest nations in the world, and a leading contributor to greenhouse gas emissions that is driving this crisis, it is absurd that Trump is elevating oil tycoons and climate deniers to power, and threatening to pull the US out of the most basic global agreement to address the crisis of climate change. Trump and his administration have a clear conflict of interest and are placing their own dirty energy investments above the interests of humanity and the planet as a whole.”

Mark Magaña, President & CEO, GreenLatinos: “GreenLatinos joined with environmental and conservation organizations around the world in celebrating the historic climate change agreement in Paris. Signed by 195 countries, the agreement ensures reductions in greenhouse gas emissions and over $100 billion in assistance by 2020 to help meet the ambitious goals laid out in the pact. Walking back from this historic agreement, and abandoning our international leadership would place the Trump Administration in historic infamy on a global scale. Poll after poll demonstrates what our community already knows through our lived experience: Latino communities care deeply about protecting our environment and ensuring a safe, healthy, and sustainable climate for ours and future generations.”

Erika Rosenthal, Attorney, Earthjustice: “Far from putting America first, withdrawing from the Paris Climate Agreement would forfeit American global leadership, cost U.S. workers clean energy jobs, and put vulnerable communities at greater risk — all in a short-sighted sop to the fossil fuel lobby. The Peoples Climate March sent a resounding message to the White House that cities, states and communities across our nation are doubling down on the renewable energy transition, with job growth and cleaner air as immediate benefits. Earthjustice will continue to fight back in court and use the full strength of our bedrock environmental laws to protect our communities.”

Judith LeBlanc, Director of the Native Organizers Alliance: “In Indian Country, we know that there is only one way to save Mother Earth: focus on building the power of grassroots solutions to the crisis. If facts could change policies of the Trump administration, it would be simple. Now we must prove through our creative collective grassroots projects that another path is possible. With prayer and organized people power we will save Mother Earth.”

Elizabeth Yeampierre, Executive Director, UPROSE: “Communities on the frontlines of the climate crisis have been fighting climate change for decades. These frontline communities are communities of color and low-income communities, this is true locally, nationally and globally. We have long known that we cannot rely on governing administrations that are in bed with the fossil fuel industry to create or support any domestic or international legislation that would require a shift away from dirty energy.  However, this does not diminish our outrage at this administration’s decision to withdraw from the Paris Agreement. While the agreement falls short of known and necessary emissions reductions benchmarks, it opens the door to the critical measures, which are necessary to drive a Just Transition away from the extractive economy. An exit from this agreement will only propel the climate justice movement to rise up against the destructive order that this administration has established, which threatens the dignity of our communities and the stability of our planet.”

Rhea Suh, President, Natural Resources Defense Council: “Tens of thousands of people marched through the streets of Washington—and in many other cities—last weekend to send President Trump a loud and clear message: The United States must keep moving forward to curb the dangers of climate change, not backward. The consequences withdrawing from the Paris agreement would be swift and disastrous for Americans and the planet. It would turn us into a global pariah. It would undermine our competitiveness in the worldwide clean energy race. And it would sound the retreat from our fundamental obligation to leave our children a livable planet.”

Aura Vasquez, Director of Climate Justice, Center for Popular Democracy: “In order to protect our most vulnerable communities  already most affected by climate change, we must continue our participation on the Paris agreement. The steps taken by the Trump administration withdraw from this agreement will set the wrong precedent with the international community, and will set us back from our goals to be a leader in renewable energy while protecting the health and environment of people of color and frontline communities.”
Vien Truong, Director, Green For All: “It’s no surprise that, after 100 days of attacks on our environment, Donald Trump is reneging on America’s promise to fight climate change globally. What it shows is that he could care less about the will of the people. Just last week, hundreds of thousands of Americans across the country showed the world that climate change is a priority. Frontline communities, who have had to pay the worst health, wealth and safety costs of pollution, led the way saying enough is enough. It’s about time this administration actually listened.”

Kate Cell, Climate Campaign Manager, Union of Concerned Scientists: “The science is clear and urgent. The climate is changing rapidly threatening coastal communities with rising seas, stressing farmers with drought, exacerbating expensive and dangerous wildfires and more.  But fortunately, we have solutions. Clean renewable energy, such as wind and solar,  and energy efficiency, are already driving down U.S. emissions while employing well over two million people in the U.S. Among these are wind and solar technicians, electricians, and HVAC installers—good jobs that can’t be outsourced. If would be a blow to these workers and the innovation economy to pull out of the Paris Climate Agreement.”

Reverend Leo Woodberry, Kingdom Living Temple: “The plight of the planet is irrevocable interwoven with the plight of the citizens of the United States of America. Sea level rise, extreme variances in temperatures, weather related disasters, impacts to our environment and population are not different in the USA than anywhere else on earth. Climate change is the greatest challenge of our time and both a moral and spiritual imperative for today and for future generations. If the Trump Administration is truly committed to making America great. Then they will not abandon the Paris Accords and create a situation where the USA no longer leads, but lags far behind the rest of the world. The Paris Accords provides an opportunity to not only develop new engines of economic development (such as renewables), but also the set down an historical marker equal to Washington, Lincoln, FDR and others. Putting people and the planet over profit is what creates a climate that leads to true progress Our prayer is that the Trump Administration will realize this.”

Hector Figueroa, President, SEIU 32BJ: “The Trump administration may want to backtrack on our country’s commitment to the Paris Accord but here is a fact that they cannot run away from: Everybody is being affected by the ongoing climate crisis– here at home and abroad. If we withdraw from the only international tool we have to start addressing climate change, millions will suffer while the corporate do-nothing crowd, helped by an administration of the 1%; for the 1%, will continue to profit as seas continue to swell and swallow whole island nations, from the Maldives to the Marshall Islands, inundate vast areas of countries from Bangladesh to Egypt, and submerge parts of scores of coastal cities in the U.S. We need to stand strong and demand that our government remain committed to keeping our air and water clean and our planet healthy and safe by putting the people’s interest before the profits of the corporate elite.”

John Coequyt, Global Climate Policy Director, Sierra Club: “Leaders around the world and throughout our country have been clear that the any plan by the Trump Administration to exploit the flexibility of the Paris Agreement to reduce our commitment, or even going so far as to completely withdraw from the accord, would be a disaster for the U.S. Breaking our promises would provoke international blowback, harm our global leadership role, and threaten our economy and the health and safety of all families in this country. Trump reassessed his position on NATO because abandoning our security commitments would be untenable. The same is true of our commitments under the Paris Agreement. This Administration must take our international obligations seriously, as the Paris Agreement is broadly supported by the public, the business community, the largest economies and states in this country, and nations across the world.”

Patrick Carolan, Executive Director, Franciscan Action Network: “Issues like poverty and migration are connected to the climate crisis. When there is no water, crops fail and people fall into poverty. Widespread poverty and resource scarcity lead to mass migration. When large countries like the U.S. deny the reality of the climate crisis and pull out of commitments holding us accountable for doing our part to curb global temperature rise, we are turning our backs on the poor and vulnerable, which goes directly against our Franciscan-Christian values.”

May Boeve, Executive Director, 350.org: “The Trump Administration doesn’t represent the vast majority of the US public that supports the Paris Agreement, nor the cities, states and institutions that will continue to push our economy away from fossil fuels and towards an 100% clean energy future that works for all. Hundreds of thousands of people took part in the Peoples Climate March last weekend to call for climate, jobs and justice. Those are the voices in the United States that the rest of the world should listen to and their message is clear: keep moving.”

Lydia Avila, Executive Director, Powershift Network: “The Paris Agreement was an important but imperfect step toward protecting a livable planet. And now, instead of taking necessary steps forward, Trump plans to withdraw, which amounts to a direct attack on all young people—especially young people of color, who are already most threatened by both the climate crisis and the Trump agenda. Young Americans demand—and are ready to fight for—a government that represents and protects us, not a fossil-fueled administration that’s willing to sell out our futures for short-term profit.”

Hakim Evans, 18, Action Fellow, Alliance for Climate Education: “As someone who witnessed the historic ratification of the Paris Climate Agreement, Trump’s attempt to withdraw from this important climate agreement is a severe disappointment to myself and other frontline youth that will be impacted by the dangerous impacts of climate change. Regardless of this shameful pullout and his destructive executive orders, youth will continue to rise up to address and prevent the devastating impacts climate change will pose to our lives and future generations. We will continue to be the guardians of the future and push for bold climate action regardless of whether we have the support of our administration.”

Oxfam: “President Trump abandoning or weakening the US commitment to the Paris climate Agreement shows that he is putting his friends in the fossil fuel industry first while putting American prosperity and millions more of vulnerable and poor people’s livelihoods around the world second. Last week at the People’s Climate March, the American people showed they want climate action along with the nearly 200 countries around the world who have joined the Paris Agreement. President Trump’s climate denialism doesn’t represent what many Americans and the world believe.”

Trip Van Noppen, President, Earthjustice: “When the federal government threatens our health and well-being, we fight back in court and use the full strength of our bedrock environmental laws to protect our communities. Earthjustice marches to show those in office that they cannot ignore the will of the people or the dire consequences of climate change. We support communities facing off against big polluters and creating innovative solutions for a more sustainable future. We will never stop fighting for a healthy, sustainable future.”

Brandon Wu, Director of Policy & Campaigns, ActionAid USA: “By destroying U.S. climate policies and abandoning the Paris Agreement, the Trump administration is once again only looking out for itself and its big business buddies. It’s further attacking the world’s poorest and most vulnerable people, whose lives and livelihoods are already at risk from climate change. Rather than lining the pockets of the fossil fuel industry and further militarizing our borders in response to migration and instability caused by climate change, we must work with the rest of the world to cut pollution and ensure justice for impacted people, both at home and abroad.”

Nana Firman, Muslim Coordinator, GreenFaith: “Muslims in the U.S. are suffering from the administration’s attacks on our safety and civil rights; Muslims in the world’s poorest countries will now suffer more because of the administration’s profound disregard for the urgency of the climate crisis.  We need our government to keep the climate commitments we have made to the world, not abandon them with disregard for the devastation this will cause.”

Basav Sen, Director, Institute for Policy Studies Climate Policy Project: “It bears repetition that the U.S. decision to withdraw from the Paris accord shows the reckless disregard that the U.S. government has for the future of humanity. It takes a special kind of irresponsibility to refuse to engage in cooperative global solutions to what is certainly the biggest existential threat that humanity has ever faced. At the same time, there is a silver lining in the U.S. decision. In recent weeks, it has emerged that the faction in the administration who wanted the U.S. to stay in the accord were motivated by a desire to use the seat at the table to undermine serious global action on climate, and push false solutions such as “clean coal” with carbon capture and sequestration. A U.S. exit from the accord provides more political space for other countries to pursue serious action on climate without destructive U.S. interference. Foreign governments are justified in saying, ‘good riddance!”

Maria Castaneda, Secretary-Treasurer, 1199SEIU United Healthcare Workers East: “Thousands of healthcare workers marched on Washington last Saturday to demonstrate our commitment to a healthy and equitable world. The Trump administration, backed by dirty fuel CEOs, wants to abandon the US pledges under the Paris Agreement, which was a vital step towards avoiding a serious public health crisis due to climate chaos. We cannot let them. By transitioning to 100% clean energy, we can create millions of good jobs, protect our air and water, foster healthy communities, solve the climate crisis and build a better future.”

Tiernan Sittenfeld, SVP of Government Affairs, League of Conservation Voters: “The Peoples Climate March made it crystal clear that people, communities, and businesses across this country are demanding action on climate change. Withdrawing the United States from the historic Paris Climate Agreement would take us in exactly the wrong direction at a time when the stakes have never been higher.  Once again the Trump administration would be risking jobs, hurting our economy and threatening the health of our communities and the planet simply to pander to their polluter allies. Rest assured, we will continue to raise our voices and fight back at every step.”

Angela Adrar, Executive Director, Climate Justice Alliance: “45 is doing his best to kill us all and the planet on which we live. It isn’t enough that he has gutted EPA safety guards, targeted our communities with the repeal of ACA, and is reducing environmental protections in the budget by 31% — all to fund a campaign of militarization supported by the fossil fuel industry and our tax dollars. He is now intent on pulling out of the Paris Agreement the only governing tool on the planet to hold us as humanity to a 1.5 target in reduction of emissions — what communities most impacted by climate need to survive! His climate lies are destructive and dangerous and these actions supported by Pruitt and his whole cabinet demonstrate the delusion of reality from which they operate. In light of this, our local, tribal, and municipal communities are determined to continue to rise up for a Just Transition away from fossil fuels toward more community control and governance of energy and power. We will protect vulnerable communities today and always.”

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The Peoples Climate Movement is a broad based coalition of environmental, immigrant, youth, indigenous, Latino, racial justice, economic justice, and faith-based groups and labor unions demanding an economy and a government that works for working people and the planet.

For more information on the April 29th Peoples Climate Mobilization, visit peoplesclimate.org
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