As we say “avoir” to the Paris Agreement, US cities now must lead the way on climate change.
Today Donald Trump announced the United States would be pulling out of the Paris Agreement. This disastrous decision hurts our fight against climate change, hurts our economy and hurts our relationships with the 191 countries who agreed that we need to lower emissions. We now join Syria and Nicaragua outside the agreement, looking in (though Nicaragua didn’t sign because the country believed the agreement didn’t do enough to fight climate change and is continuing on its own to lower emissions).
So what happens now? Do we give up hope? Do we put our heads in the sand?
No. There’s no time for self-pity or to wallow. Regardless of what’s happening at the federal level, our fight to preserve a livable planet must continue unabated. While our national politicians may have ceded their leadership roles, we must now look to cities to move this battle forward. Urban centers produce 70% of global emissions but are also on the front lines of reducing humanity’s carbon footprint. It’s clear that that progress must not stop but go into hyper speed. Pushing a greener future is more than the moral thing to do, it’s the smart thing to do. Fighting climate change is an economic no-brainer – green jobs are good jobs that provide all types of economic opportunities.
Leading the way among cities is San Diego. With the passage of the legally-binding Climate Action Plan, San Diego has put teeth behind the plan to reduce emissions in America’s Finest City. Yet we can do more. Passing the CAP was the easy part, enforcement is where the rubber meets the road. We need people on the City Council who take the CAP seriously, want to see it fully funded and are constantly on the lookout on how else we can whittle down our emissions. Let’s not retreat from our ambition like Trump is doing with the Paris Agreement. Instead let’s push further while the federal government is retreating. A conversation about fighting climate change needs to be front and center in every race, on every level, moving forward. As someone who hopes to represent San Diego’s 2nd City Council seat, I understand how important and far reaching the battle against climate change is. From here on out, we need all of our politicians to have that same understanding.
If you believe we need people in city hall that’ll fight for a greener future and take the threat of climate change seriously, I hope you’ll consider donating to my campaign.