MENLO PARK, Calif.— Statement of Environment Program Director Jonathan Pershing, former Special Envoy for Climate Change at the U.S. Department of State, on behalf of the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation in response to President Trump’s decision to withdraw from the Paris climate agreement:
“This decision to withdraw from the Paris agreement is a grave mistake that will harm millions of people in the United States, and billions around the world, who face the ravages of climate change. In the U.S., we are already experiencing significant effects with costly consequences – from sea level rise and damaging storm surges in south Florida to a doubling of forest fires in the western United States. Abroad, deadly droughts and famine are causing extreme suffering, super storms and sea level rise are displacing and harming huge populations, and pests are carrying disease and spreading illness. Climate change will be felt everywhere and by everyone — particularly those who have the least, who will be hit first and hardest.
“Today’s unfortunate decision is short-sighted in every sense of the word. It is out of step with the rest of the world, which is moving forward without the United States. It flies in the face of clear science, and of economic opportunity. It defies widespread popular support ― from our business community, from our religious communities, and from our citizens ― for remaining part of the international community’s effort to combat this real and increasingly urgent threat. And its repercussions will go well beyond climate change. Not only does this decision fail to safeguard Americans’ health and well-being, it forfeits new job opportunities; it weakens the ability of American businesses to compete in the clean energy future; and it damages America’s global standing and credibility with international partners.
“The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation has been working for more than 50 years to safeguard people and the environment. We remain committed to addressing climate change, standing by our grantees as they continue to seek solutions to this urgent threat to humanity, the environment, and global economies. Philanthropic organizations have sought and supported — and will continue to seek and support — ideas and solutions from across the political spectrum, from communities of faith and communities of color, from youth groups and public health leaders, and from leaders in business, finance, and technology.
“We take heart in the breadth of the constituencies stepping up to deal with climate change. Their forward-looking leadership is both reflective and supportive of the sizeable majority of Americans — from both political parties — who endorse the Paris climate agreement and the growth of clean energy. Everyone stands to gain from climate solutions, just as everyone is certain to lose from avoiding the problem. This is why 195 nations signed the Paris agreement: the momentum of the whole world is behind finding and implementing common-sense solutions to climate change. We urge the nation’s leaders and citizens to rise to the occasion ― and above partisanship ― to offer solutions.”