ATLANTA - Georgia's elected officials, predictably, were split down party lines when it came to their overall opinions on climate change as well as their opinions on President Trump's decision to remove the United States from the Paris Climate Agreement.
Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed, a vocal Democratic opponent of Trump's stance against the Paris Accords, has joined with the leaders of several states and cities in vowing to continue to adhere to the tenants of the agreement, despite the president's stance. Reed said the city would intensify efforts to reduce carbon dioxide emissions and continue to search for clean energy solutions.
“The President has made a disappointing decision today to withdraw the United States from the Paris Climate Agreement, and by extension, global leadership. This decision isolates our country from international partners in shared, global efforts to curb climate change, and at its core is an assault on our future stability and prosperity.
Two years ago, I joined more than 100 mayors from around the world in Paris to demonstrate our support for the COP 21 negotiations. President Barack Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry demonstrated genuine leadership as they committed the United States to actionable, meaningful and achievable goals to combat climate change and reduce harmful pollution.
Along with my colleagues from around the country and the world, I remain committed to meeting the goals of the Paris Climate Agreement. The City of Atlanta will intensify our efforts to reduce CO2 emissions, work to cool the planet by two degrees, ramp up clean energy solutions and seek every opportunity to assert our leadership on this urgent issue.”
US Rep. Hank Johnson (D-4th) characterized Trump's actions as reckless and arrogant, and said he was ignoring reality.
President Trump's reckless and arrogant abandonment of the Paris Agreement on Climate Change, signed by 193 of the world's 195 countries, is a historic blunder that places appeasement to fossil fuel interests over the health of our environment and its people.
This decree ignores science, ignores research, ignores the truth, and ignores the reality that climate change will have grave and irreversible effects on our environment. It also shortsighted, and it jeopardizes our national security.
I will continue to resist all efforts to turn the clock backward, and I will stand up for the health and safety of all who currently inhabit planet earth, and for future generations who depend on us to leave behind a sustainable environment.
US Rep. John Lewis (D-5th) was equally upset by the president's decision, saying that though Trump insisted he was trying to save American industries and jobs, that same concern was not present with the budget he recently sent to Capitol Hill.
“I was deeply concerned by this nation’s withdrawal from the Paris climate accord. I do not agree with the dark vision of America’s future the president described that pits accepting responsibility for our environmental impact against the economic stability and vitality of our country.
“The president itemized damages to American industries and jobs, through our involvement with a non-binding agreement, but that same concern was critically absent from the budget he sent to Capitol Hill. In it he proposes to cut key supports for American workers, like the Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP). The MEP helps create or retain more than 80,000 American manufacturing jobs every year.
“This decision to withdraw from the Paris agreement lessens American strength, puts us at odds with our major allies, and leaves room for other nations, like China and the European Union, to fill the void our departure has created. If we pull back and pull out of negotiations, we cannot help shape international climate policies that affect our nation’s future. The rest of the world has seen the economic and environmental benefit of clean energy, and they will leave us behind.
“We do not live on this planet alone. It is not ours to hoard, waste, or abuse. It is our responsibility to leave this world a little more clean and a little more peaceful for all who must inhabit it for generations to come.”
Both candidates for the 6th Congressional District weighed in -- with an eye toward wooing voters ahead of the special runoff election for that seat slated for June 20. Republican Karen Handel and Democratic candidate Jon Ossoff are vying to replace Tom Price, who resigned earlier this year to become President Trump's Health and Human Service Secretary.
Handel called the withdrawal an "opportunity to do the right thing in the right way."
"We need a fair agreement that doesn't start with the assumption that American jobs should be sacrificed to the developing world in order to address the impacts of climate change, and any agreement must go through the required Senate approval process."
Ossoff responded on Twitter to the withdrawal on Wednesday, saying in part, "If we walk away from our #ParisAgreement commitments to reduce carbon emissions & help fight climate change, history will condemn us for it."
"Here's who agrees that climate change is a major threat to our prosperity and security: Peer-reviewed science, the military, and the intelligence community. Now, the U.S. made historic commitments in Paris last year, to lead the way to reducing global carbon emissions. Importantly, so did China and India, for virtually the first time after decades of foot-dragging.
"If we walk away from our commitments to reduce carbon emissions and help fight climate change, history will condemn us for it. And rather than more partisanship on this issue, where again there's a consensus from the military, the intelligence community, and science, how about some bipartisanship? How about recognizing that this is a tremendous economic opportunity for Georgia's 6th District to lead the way in clean energy technology, as Mr. Abroms said.
"To help develop the economy of the future that will create more jobs in the economy that will see us into an economic future that we can be proud of, that will yield the kinds of high-tech, biotech, medical research, clean energy jobs that young people here need for the next several decades."
US Rep. Barry Loudermilk (R-11th) agreed with the president and said the Paris Accords were taking jobs from American citizens.
"President Trump is making the right decision withdrawing from the #ParisAgreement on climate change, and I fully support his decision," Loudermilk tweeted. "A free economy is the best way to work toward promoting economic prosperity, along with stewarding our God-given resources and environment. The damaging ramifications of the #ParisAgreement weren't properly evaulated, and now it's taking away jobs from hardworking Americans."
US Rep. Sanford Bishop (D-2nd) does not agree with the president's decision either.
"I'm very disappointed that the president does not see the need for people to work together across the board to protect the earth on which we live," Bishop told 11Alive's Macon sister station, WMAZ.
Both of Georgia's US Senators, Johnny Isakson and David Perdue, were strongly in support of the president's decision to withdraw from the Paris Accords, and voiced their support for Trump's actions.
Perdue stepped into the fray almost immediately after the president's statement on Thursday.
“Today, President Trump chose to make a clean exit from the Paris Agreement. This agreement was a perfect example of Obama-era overreach in which the previous administration entered what should have been considered as a treaty without any congressional approval," Perdue said. "The U.S. withdrawal is the next step in fulfilling President Trump's promise to rescind burdensome regulations like the Clean Power Plan that are raising energy costs and stifling our economy, while still maintaining a seat at the table for future international climate talks. When other countries are not willing or able to fully adhere to the terms and meet these targets it ultimately puts American companies and workers at a tremendous disadvantage.”
Isakson was also supportive of the president and very critical of the climate agreement.
“The United States is one of the strongest countries in the world in our commitment to high environmental standards across all industries, including power production. Unfortunately, the Paris climate deal was yet another regulatory overreach by the Obama administration and should have been put forward for the advice and consent of the Senate," Isakson said. "I will continue to work on commonsense approaches to energy production and the environment.”
© 2017 WXIA-TV