American Forests issued the following statement from President and CEO Jad Daley on the November 4, 2019 Trump administration announcement to formally withdraw from the Paris Climate Agreement.
“Climate change binds us together, more so than any other environmental threat. That’s because its negative impacts are already being felt by some and will, in the near future, reach everyone. Also, through our energy use and other actions, we all own a share of the problem.
The Paris Agreement represents an historic breakthrough on this issue. It is an unprecedented global recognition of our shared duty to take action so current and future generations thrive.
Most notably, for American Forests and other forest conservation advocates, the agreement is one of the only global documents to recognize the role of forests in slowing and adapting to climate change. Forests and forest products in the U.S. capture and store almost 15 percent of our carbon dioxide emissions from fossil fuels each year, making them one of the most powerful natural solutions to climate change.
Now is the time to commit to doubling carbon capture in our forests by 2030—not just to address climate change but also to create green jobs, protect public water supplies, and provide habitat for fish and wildlife.
It is not the time to withdraw from this global pact.
In doing so, the U.S. federal government steps away from its official obligation to lead on climate change in concert with other nations, including through actions to create resilient and healthy forests.
As I shared during recent remarks at the United Nations Climate Action Summit in September, slowing climate change can and will continue in America at all levels. That is because the need is so immediate and apparent, and because the benefits of taking actions, such as planting trees, are appealing to so many people.
American Forests draws particular strength from the leadership of the U.S. Climate Alliance, 25 states that are staying with their share of our national commitment to the Paris Agreement. We are also inspired by mayors, tribal leaders and others who are similarly continuing to take serious action on climate change through forest restoration and other means.
We also see continued progress at the federal level, despite this decision to leave the Paris Agreement. We are grateful for the federal government agencies, such as the U.S. Forest Service, that continue to deliver leading forest-climate science and help advance climate-informed forestry actions across the country. We also appreciate the leaders in Congress from both parties who are advancing new legislation, such as the Climate Stewardship Act, that can put America’s forests to work for a safe and stable climate into the future.
We will continue to engage with leaders at all levels, including inside the Beltway, to help advance tree planting, forest restoration and other actions that will slow climate change. This includes advocating for eventual re-entry into the Paris Agreement at a later date so that U.S. actions may be integrated with the important work of other nations.”