On June 1, President Donald Trump announced a U.S. withdrawal from the Paris Accord agreement that laid out a framework for countries to adopt clean energy and phase out fossil fuels in a global effort to address climate change.
“President Trump promised that he would put America first and he has rightly determined that the Paris accord was not in the best interests of the United States,” said Sonny Perdue, USDA Secretary. “In addition to costing our economy trillions of dollars and millions of jobs, the accord also represented a willful and voluntary ceding of our national sovereignty. The agreement would have had negligible impact on world temperatures, especially since other countries and major world economies were not being held to the same stringent standards as the United States.”
In his remarks on the decision, the president said he’d be willing to explore a new international climate agreement if it offered better terms for the United States. He also said the United States will stop implementing the Obama administration’s domestic climate change efforts and stop funding the Green Climate Fund, an international program that supports developing countries on climate change issues.
The announcement drew the ire of environmentalists from around the nation and the world. Agriculture was largely silent on the issue, but the National Farmers Union was vocal.
“Today’s decision by the Trump Administration is shameful, and it fails to recognize the very real and immediate threats of climate change to family farmers, ranchers, and our nation’s food security,” said Roger Johnson, president of the NFU. “We can not sustain a viable food system if climate change is left unchecked. By refusing to limit U.S. greenhouse gas emissions and lead the world in this space, President Trump is allowing increasingly unpredictable and destructive weather to wreak havoc on family farm operations, future generations, and food prices and availability for years to come.”
Johnson pointed out concerns with international opinions of the United States.
“This action also has enormous implications for our nation’s credibility,” Johnson said. “It is nearly inconceivable that the U.S. would repudiate sound science that the rest of the world has accepted and abdicate our leadership on an issue of such great importance.”
Under the Paris Agreement, the U.S. pledged to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by at least 26% by 2025. Many of the actions that would have helped the U.S. achieve that goal would have stimulated economic growth in rural communities. This prompted NFU to be a vocal proponent of the agreement since its ratification in December 2015.
“When properly incentivized, farmers, ranchers, and forest owners have tremendous potential to sequester carbon and contribute to the mitigation of climate change,” Johnson said. “By taking away the opportunity for such revenue streams, the President has stripped rural America of valuable opportunities to confront the current farm crisis and stem the exodus of young people from rural communities.”