‘Trump Is Taking America in the Wrong Direction,’ Castor Says
By ANNE LINDBERG, TB Reporter
U.S. Rep. Kathy Castor, St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman and local climate activists blasted the decision by President Donald Trump to withdraw the U.S. from the Paris climate agreement.
TAMPA BAY – U.S. Rep. Kathy Castor, D-Tampa, assailed the announced Thursday (June 1) that President Donald Trump is pulling the U.S. out of the Paris accord.
Castor said the decision is not only bad economically and for health reasons, it also abandons the U.S.’ role as a leader on the world stage and ignores the need for cooperation.
“International cooperation is not another contestant on a reality show that he can fire. Working with allies and forming diplomatic ties are far more important in this volatile world than Trump realizes,” Castor said. “His action today sends the wrong message, that other countries will lead where we have done so in the past. With today’s action, along with his policy-by-tweet outlook of America’s role in the world, Trump is taking America in the wrong direction and empowering our adversaries.”
Castor was not the only Tampa Bay area official to criticize the action. St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman was one of 60 “climate mayors” who agreed to uphold the Paris Accord.
“I agree with President Barack Obama. Cities and counties and private sector must lead the way on climate. We simply have no choice,” Kriseman said on his Facebook page.
St. Petersburg Council member Darden Rice agreed that local efforts would continue: “Just because Trump gives up, doesn’t mean we do. Cities still can and will pursue meaningful clean energy and resiliency goals.”
State Director Jennifer Rubiello of the St. Petersburg-based Environment Florida also blasted Trump’s decision: “President Trump has got it exactly backwards: there’s no sound economy in our future without a healthy planet. If both our national and state leadership choose to ignore that reality, then mayors must step in to fill the leadership void to show the world that Americans will do our part to address the climate crisis.”
U.S. Rep. Charlie Crist, D-St. Petersburg, had issued a statement Wednesday (May 31) when the news broke that Trump would likely pull out of the agreement. Like the others, Crist said it was a wrong-headed move that would cause “lasting damage to our international relationships, global environment, and national economy.”
Castor’s full statement:
“President Trump’s decision to quit the international climate agreement deals a harsh economic blow to Florida families and businesses. By exiting the Paris Climate Accord, Trump is saddling Floridians with higher costs and ignoring the boom in higher-paying jobs tied to clean energy. Trump also is ceding America’s leadership in the world to other nations with disregard for the economic damage to our fellow Americans.
“The rising costs of the changing climate are real for Florida families and businesses, and the threat to my neighbors and Floridians across the state due to climate change demands leadership, not abdication of responsibility.
“Trump states that the Paris Climate Accord is costing the U.S. a fortune, but as in so many other areas, Trump stands the economic argument on its head – striking at the heart of the economic boost that Florida and other states enjoyed due to expanding job opportunities in clean energy, green building, solar, energy efficiency and co-generation. Clean energy jobs are on the upswing, much more so than jobs in industries tied to fossil fuels. An analysis by ICF International estimates that investing in clean energy would create 1 million new jobs in America by 2030 and 2 million jobs by 2050. Florida was on track to see 109,000 new jobs tied to clean energy construction and manufacturing by 2030 and 206,000 jobs by 2050.
“The Paris Climate Accord would make important steps to ensure a clean planet so we can be healthy at home. Trump is making light of this grave and pressing worldwide threat. International cooperation is not another contestant on a reality show that he can fire. Working with allies and forming diplomatic ties are far more important in this volatile world than Trump realizes. His action today sends the wrong message, that other countries will lead where we have done so in the past. With today’s action, along with his policy-by-tweet outlook of America’s role in the world, Trump is taking America in the wrong direction and empowering our adversaries.”
Rubiello’s full statement:
“When the nations of the world joined in the Paris accord, we all finally stood as one to begin to address the climate crisis. This embarrassing decision says to the world that the U.S. – the nation most responsible for global warming – feels no responsibility for cutting pollution, and pretends to prioritize the economy over the well being of the world.
“President Trump has got it exactly backwards: There’s no sound economy in our future without a healthy planet. If both our national and state leadership choose to ignore that reality, then mayors must step in to fill the leadership void to show the world that Americans will do our part to address the climate crisis.
“Averting disaster would be easier with strong state and federal leadership, but it’s not too late to defend clean air and a livable climate. If President Trump won’t stick by the U.S. commitment to reduce pollution and if Gov. [Rick] Scott continues to bury his head in the sand, then it’s up to our cities and industries to take the lead in moving us towards a clean energy future.
“Hundreds of cities in the U.S. and around the world have pledged to accelerate carbon reductions to meet the goals of the Paris accord. Orlando, Florida is just the most recent of dozens of cities announcing a plan to shift to 100 percent clean renewable energy. To accelerate progress, every city in Florida and in the country must step up and take similar action. And clear-eyed players in the business community must lead on this issue as well.
“In Washington, D.C., our U.S. Senators must act to protect vital pollution-cutting programs – including clean car standards and clean air standards – from any attack.
Ultimately, we all must work together to reduce and eliminate the pollution that is causing the world to warm. The health of Florida families and the world ecosystem are at stake.”
Kathy Castor | Rick Kriseman | Charlie Crist | Paris Accord | Environment | Pollution | Clean Energy | Tampa Bay News | TB Reporter
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