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Del. Ken Plum: Stay With The Paris Climate Agreement

by Del. Ken Plum June 29, 2017 at 10:15 am 13 Comments

This is a commentary from Del. Ken Plum (D-Fairfax), who represents Reston in Virginia’s House of Delegates. It does not reflect the opinion of Reston Now.

Among the many actions of the new federal administration in Washington, few have drawn sharper disagreement around the world as has the unfortunate decision to withdraw from the Paris Climate Agreement. Only two nations of the world did not join, with the United States being the first and only to withdraw. The Agreement was difficult to reach and showed real promise to bring nations together to curtail climate change.

The response has been swift and determined among those concerned with climate change as to what can be done to stay the course on dealing with the issue. Recently, I joined with more than 550 legislators from throughout the country, including 11 from Virginia, organized by the National Caucus of Environmental Legislators (NCEL, ncel.net) in sending a letter to the administration indicating our opposition to withdrawal from the Paris Agreement. Following is the text of that letter:

We are state legislators representing 45 states with a total population of over 298 million United States citizens and we stand united in opposition to the president’s decision to withdraw the United States from the Paris Climate Agreement.

We are committed to continuing the United States’ leadership in working toward a clean energy economy and reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Now more than ever, in the wake of this short-sighted decision by the Federal Administration, it is important that state and local governments come together to strengthen our resolve to meet our regional goals to reduce carbon pollution and our national goals to achieve the reductions agreed to in Paris in 2015.

We stand with the 292 United States mayors representing more than 60 million Americans, the governors of 12 states with a total population of over 102 million, and 194 countries committed to upholding the ambitious goals adopted in the Paris Agreement. At the same time, we explicitly refuse to stand with President Donald Trump in his repudiation of the agreement.

Climate change is not a conspiracy, a hoax, or a partisan cause. Climate change will not affect just a few low-lying countries and the polar regions. Climate change is real and caused by human activity. People around the world and here in our own country, in our own states, in our own communities have already experienced the impacts and will see significantly increased impacts in the coming decades.

As state legislators, we declare our commitment to work with our legislative colleagues, our governors, and our constituents to ensure that we continue this country’s leadership role to build a 21st Century clean energy economy and that we meet or exceed all of the deliverables in the Paris Agreement. To this end, we will reach out across local, state, and federal borders to work together for our future. These ties will strengthen our economy as we build upon American ingenuity, entrepreneurship, productivity, and scientific and technological know-how to reduce carbon pollution while producing the next generation of clean transportation, clean power and energy-efficient devices and strategies.

With or without the president’s leadership, our country must continue to lead the fight for climate action. Working together across multiple states, we will ensure our great nation does not go backward and meets or exceeds the Paris Agreement.

If you decide to write a letter as well, please feel free to borrow any or all of the text of this letter.

  • The Constitutionalist

    The Paris Climate Agreement was pointless. Just another way for you to spend someone else’s money on nothing. Until all countries are held to the same standard we are, we should not come back to the table.

    • Mr Energy

      The treaty of Versailles was also very bad for Germany as war reparation costs resulted in huge deficits in effect crippling the economy. Not until Germany decided to inflate their currency to pay down their debts was it possible to again operate as a sovereign nation.

      The same is true for the US. As the worlds biggest polluter in total carbon dioxide emissions its already established that cap&trade is not possible and that political will cannot get us past current paradigms of energy policy. Therefore the only way to leverage economic risks, national security and consumer sentiment is by increasing domestic oil production and glut the market with an endless supply of cheap oil and gas. Fracking technologies therefore are they key to our success and will be for some time to come.

      • The Constitutionalist

        Great… and?

        • Mr Energy

          No matter how great the constitution, you cannot avoid ignorance.

          • The Constitutionalist

            Great… and?

  • Guest

    The Paris accords are/were largely unenforceable, in the tradition of the previous Kyoto Agreement. And there was no reason for American taxpayers to subsidize less advanced nations to the tune of hundreds of millions of dollars (with few performance standards) while hobbling our own economic growth. It was not a good deal, the upside is that many of the objectives of the Paris agreement can come close to being achieved by many nations at their own discretion.

  • Mike M

    Sorry Ken, but the President was right on this one for reasons already stated on this board. The truth is that both parties loved to enter into trade and other international agreements on terms that were known to be bad for at least a subset of Americans all in the name of leadership and righteousness. Those days are gone for now. Since this President is really not following any Party’s line, we actually have a good result.

    So the President is right and you are wrong. Also, the President took his decision within his purview. Your job is in Virginia. You are your like-minded state and locals are pretty much playing with yourselves.

    Take note: President Trump’s mere statements on NAFTA, NATO, and immigration, as odious as they were proclaimed by you “resistors,” as distasteful as they may have been, . . . they have already resulted in success:
    – NATO membership spending more on their own and accepting that
    – Acceptance of adjustments in trade
    – less immigration – especially of the legal sort

    This President postures and sometimes that is an effective leadership technique. You should watch and learn.

  • HaHa

    Ken, please consider the environment before the next time you print something out that is destine for President Trumps trash bin.

  • 40yearsinreston

    Plums hot air is a major contributor to global warming

    • RestonAssurance

      I don’t agree completely, but you have some of the best comments!

  • Save The Bay

    Ken, Focus on saving the Bay first, once you have done that move on to worrying about the world. The Green party should just break away from the democratic party as they see environmental issues as a cash cow instead of a problem to be solved.

  • Sidewinder

    Trump is just protecting American interests… it’s got nothing to do with the climate.

    The nations of the world issued their demands during the Paris “climate” conference, and the Government of Bolivia cut to the chase:

    “The capitalist system is a system of death. Hence, capitalism is leading humanity towards a horizon of destruction that sentences nature and life itself to death. In this regard, for a lasting solution to the climate crisis we must destroy capitalism.”

    “Christina Figueres, Executive Secretary of U.N.’s Convention on Climate Change, disclosed the real reason for the climate change industry when she told us that they are not interested in saving the world from global warming Armageddon but they want to destroy capitalism. “This is the first time in the history of mankind that we are setting ourselves the task of intentionally, within a period of time, to change the economic development model that has been reigning for at least 150 years, since the Industrial Revolution.”

    Look it up Mr. Plum. Get a new hair stylist while you’re at it.

    • The Constitutionalist

      LOL Let’s compare the total number of lives improved by Capitalism to the number of lives impoverished, oops I mean improved by Marxism or any other variant.

      When it becomes better for people be green, they will.


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