Former UN chief: Trump causing a global leadership vacuum

U.S. Energy Secretary Rick Perry center arrives for a meeting with Chinese Vice Premier Zhang Gaoli at the Zhongnanhai leaders compound in Beijing Thursday

Bishop John Arnold of Salford has said that Donald Trump's decision to withdraw the United States from the Paris climate agreement is an "abdication of responsibility" that puts him on the "wrong side of history". The president acknowledged this, but in the same breath claimed that it placed "draconian and financial economic burdens" on the country.

Meanwhile, coal-fired power, which is the largest historic contributor to USA emissions, continues to decline. Any signatory nation may change its targets and financial contributions whenever it wishes. But despite the current policy and budgetary vacuum, those policies were in place long enough to generate momentum and a clean energy future that won't be so easy to sweep aside.

I do not for a moment doubt that leaving the Paris deal was an easy decision for U.S. President Donald Trump.

In addition to the expected passage of the council resolution, the county also joined the "We Are Still In" coalition of more than 1,000 USA states, cities, businesses and universities that plan to pursue the climate goals of the Paris agreement. Perhaps he believes the United States will do what it can on its own.

Signed by 195 member nations in April 2016, the Paris Accord is a non-binding agreement to promote clean energy use, reduce greenhouse gasses, phase out use of fossil fuels, and limit the effects of climate change.

It does not appear, however, that protection of the environment or slowing global warming are Trump priorities. "And we could have negotiated that agreement in ways that would not needlessly destroy jobs".

The seven countries-Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan and the United States-met in Bologna, Italy, for two days to discuss the matter before releasing the environment minsters' statement yesterday.

"If the US withdraws, this has a much bigger political impact". To avert unsafe climate change, the United States will need to shut down existing coal- and gas-fired power plants before the end of their operating lives.

- The mayors of cities, including Philadelphia and Pittsburgh - which Trump cited in his announcement - have rejected the president's argument and say they will keep their sites on greenhouse gas reductions. The alliance, which includes the commonwealth of MA, collectively contributes about one-third of the nation's gross domestic product, and comprises approximately one-third of the nation's population.

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The 2015 Paris agreement aims to prevent the Earth from heating up by any more than 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit) since the start of the industrial age.

"Standing with my fellow #ClimateMayors to protect our future". Gov. Phil Scott of Vermont, the only other Republican-led state to join, stated that "if our national government isn't willing to lead in this area, the states are prepared to step up and lead".

There is also the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, to which MA is also a signatory.

During the last presidential and vice presidential debates, not a single question was raised on the topic of climate change.

All that investment in solar and wind power isn't going away, and these sources are only expanding as prices have plummeted over the past five years. The trump card put down by the USA in the global climate game is not likely to lead to victory for anybody.

Your June 7 article, "Lafayette, Easton, Bethlehem pledge to uphold Paris pact", never mentions the reasons President Trump pulled out of the Paris agreement.

The department added that the Paris Agreement represents the most flexible and dynamic approach to addressing climate change, and the withdrawal of the U.S. is not only an abdication of global responsibility we all have to humankind, but damaging to multilateralism, the rule of law and trust between nations. Former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg is coordinating this effort.

So it is left to leaders on the state, city and local levels to do what Trump has thus far shown himself incapable of on any number of fronts: to lead.

Jack Fruchtman, a seasonal resident of Aquinnah, teaches constitutional law and politics at Maryland's Towson University.

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