July 13, 2017

U.S. Senators Who Attended COP21 Write to Trump During French Visit, Urging Reconsideration, Reversal of Paris Agreement Withdrawal

WASHINGTON – The ten Senators who represented the United States at the 21st Conference of Parties in 2015, where the world agreed to the Paris Climate Agreement, have written to President Trump today during his trip to France, urging him to reconsider and reverse his decision to withdraw the United States from the historic accord.

“As you prepare to celebrate Bastille Day and the United States World War I Centennial with President Emmanuel Macron, we write to remind you of how significant the Paris Climate Agreement is to our country and the world and to urge you to strongly reconsider and reverse your decision to withdraw from the accord,” the senators, led by U.S. Senator Ben Cardin (D-Md.), Ranking Member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, wrote to the president.

“More than 900 U.S. businesses support keeping the U.S. in the Paris Agreement, including 20 Fortune 500 companies. American businesses need the U.S. government at the negotiating table to represent their interests. Their support for the Paris Agreement is evidence that the Agreement is in fact a good deal for America,” they said, adding, “we are ready to work with you and your administration on advancing these important economic and environmental goals and once again, urge you to reconsider and reverse your decision.”

Joining Senator Cardin on the letter were U.S. Senators Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.), Tom Udall (D-N.M.), Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.), Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), Al Franken (D-Minn.), Chris Coons (D-Del.), Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii), Ed Markey (D-Mass.), and Cory Booker (D-N.J.).

The full text of the letter follows:

Dear Mr. President:

As you prepare to celebrate Bastille Day and the United States World War I Centennial with President Emmanuel Macron, we write to remind you of how significant the Paris Climate Agreement is to our country and the world and to urge you to strongly reconsider and reverse your decision to withdraw from the accord. As you saw at the G7 and G20 summits recently, the Paris Agreement remains a top priority for all our international partners and allies.  We also urge you to make clear to President Macron, and the international community, that the U.S. will continue to lead on climate change and will be a productive party to the Paris Agreement in the interim, since any American withdrawal will not be complete until 2020.    

We travelled to Paris in 2015 to participate in the 21st Conference of Parties and engage in the development of the Paris Agreement. We experienced the international community’s overwhelming appreciation and support for U.S. leadership in achieving this landmark achievement. As Senators who have invested considerable time and energy to advancing U.S. action on climate change, we respectfully disagree with your decision to withdraw the U.S. from the Paris Agreement.

As you reconsider this decision, to demonstrate the U.S.’s commitment to climate change leadership and maintaining the American private sector’s advantage in a changing global economy, we strongly encourage you to utilize the several "America First" clean energy export tools at your disposal. These tools include the relevant programs and activities of the U.S. Overseas Private Investment Corporation and U.S. Trade and Development Agency, as well as programs such as the Africa Clean Energy Facility, Power Africa, Mission Innovation, and Carbon Capture Utilization and Storage and clean energy exchanges with China. These institutions and programs have leveraged hundreds of millions of dollars in foreign investment from the U.S. private sector, creating American jobs and growth opportunities for U.S. firms. The clean energy missions of these agencies and programs helps maintain the U.S.’s advantage over Chinese foreign investment in global clean energy development. 

The United States must continue to reduce domestic emissions to maintain our credibility on climate leadership. As part of your planned tax reform proposal, we urge you to prioritize the inclusion of permanent federal tax incentives for renewable energy, energy efficiency, and clean transportation technologies that create jobs in U.S. manufacturing and construction industries, improve energy choices for consumers, and reduce U.S. carbon pollution. These tax breaks empower states to make clean energy decisions and let the market "reduce emissions while respecting economic growth," while sending a clear signal to the world that U.S. is a fit competitor in the multi-trillion dollar global renewable energy market.

More than 900 U.S. businesses support keeping the U.S. in the Paris Agreement, including 20 Fortune 500 companies. American businesses need the U.S. government at the negotiating table to represent their interests. Their support for the Paris Agreement is evidence that the Agreement is in fact a good deal for America.

The U.S. must continue to engage in the Paris Agreement process and maintain leadership during the intervening years before any decision to withdraw our country from the Agreement would take effect. We are ready to work with you and your administration on advancing these important economic and environmental goals and once again, urge you to reconsider and reverse your decision.  

Sincerely,

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