Reed defies Trump climate move, but Georgia Republicans back pullout


Reaction was decisive in Georgia to President Donald Trump’s announcement Thursday that the U.S. would pull out of an international climate agreement that all but two nations had signed on to in 2015. Republican lawmakers lined up to support the president, while Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed vowed to push on with the tenets of the so-called Paris accord, which sets targets for industrialized and developing nations alike to cut climate-warming greenhouse gas emissions.

Reed, a Democrat, pledged the city of Atlanta would “intensify our efforts” to reduce CO2 emissions and uphold the Paris agreement, the negotiation of which he had participated in two years ago.

Trump’s “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,” Reed said in a statement.

Joining Reed in his defiance were the mayors of 67 other U.S. cities, including Boston, Chicago, Houston, Los Angeles, New York City, Philadelphia and Seattle.

Georgia GOP lawmakers, meanwhile, took on a much different tone after Trump said the 2015 agreement would hamstring U.S. industry.

“I was elected to represent the citizens of Pittsburgh,” Trump said in a Rose Garden speech Thursday afternoon. “Not Paris.”

Pittsburgh Mayor William Peduto said his city would continue to abide by the climate agreement.

Some Georgia Republicans were quick to back the president.

“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,” said U.S. Sen. David Perdue, who was one of nearly two-dozen Republican senators to urge Trump to exit the agreement in a letter late last month.

Trump’s own advisers were said to be split on whether to withdraw from the Paris accord, with some notable business titans such as Apple’s Tim Cook and SpaceX’s Elon Musk urging the president to keep the country in the agreement.

But Home Depot co-founder Bernie Marcus was on the other side. He said exiting the agreement would keep electricity costs “reasonable for all businesses.”

Jon Ossoff, the Democratic candidate in Georgia’s 6th Congressional District race, warned that “history will condemn us” for leaving the agreement.

“I agree with our military, our intelligence community and peer-reviewed science that climate change is a major threat to our prosperity and our security,” he said.

Republican Karen Handel, Ossoff’s opponent, didn’t weigh in on Trump’s decision as of press time.

Several GOP lawmakers from the state said the Obama administration had initially overstepped when it agreed to the accord. They said the deal was akin to a treaty, and because of that the White House should have sought Senate approval.

“Government officials are bound by the Constitution,” said U.S. Rep. Barry Loudermilk, R-Cassville, “and policies that place restrictions on Americans cannot be unilaterally imposed by one branch of government.”

Staff writer Greg Bluestein contributed to this article.


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