Donald Trump can make history on climate change – either by reversing years of steady progress, or by moving us forward to a new energy future that accomplishes what he seeks to do with American economic growth and at the same time moves us forward on climate solutions.
All indications are that he is moving toward the wrong side of history, and the response from leaders around the nation has been swift and vocal. From health professionals, to faith leaders, to scientists, to mayors, to business executives, thousands of concerned Americans have come together to urge Mr. Trump to accept the science on climate change, ensure that America reaps the economic and health benefits of clean energy, and protect our future as well as our standing in the global community by honoring the Paris Agreement.
At least a dozen open letters have been published so far – some directed at Trump himself, and others insisting that Congressional leaders take a stand against the President-elect’s platform. Read on to learn who is speaking out, and why.
ecoAmerica’s leaders made their voices heard on December 12, the one-year anniversary of the Paris Climate Agreement, in a full-page statement published in USA TODAY. The statement, signed by more than 200 faith, health, business, academic, and community leaders, pointed out that the vast majority of Americans want climate action, and that Trump has an historic opportunity to reenergize our economy through clean energy solutions.
On November 16, more than 365 businesses and investors, from large organizations like NIKE, DuPont, and General Mills to family-owned companies, signed a statement addressed to President Obama and President-elect Trump calling for a continuation of policies to reduce carbon emissions, investment in a low-carbon economy, and support for the Paris Climate Agreement. In their words, “Failure to build a low-carbon economy puts American prosperity at risk.” The statement was coordinated by ecoAmerica partners C2ES, Ceres, and the Environmental Defense Fund, among others.
Noting that Pope Francis, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, and 73 percent of American Catholics believe governments should do more to address climate change, the Catholic Climate Covenant created a petition asking Trump to “limit the impacts of climate change on creation and on the human family” by honoring the Paris Agreement, supporting the Green Climate Fund, and implementing the Clean Power Plan.
On December 13, Interfaith Power & Light delivered a petition signed by more than 4,000 people of faith, calling for moral action to confront climate change. In the words of IPL President The Rev. Sally Bingham, “We need our political leaders not to ignore or deny, but to confront reality and act responsibly to protect our communities.”
Citing the multiple health impacts of climate change, from respiratory illnesses to heat-related deaths, Environment America published a letter from 1,100 doctors, nurses, medical researchers, and other health professionals asking Trump to make tackling climate change a top priority. Said Dr. Anthony Schlaff, Director of Public Health Programs at Tufts University, “Climate change is perhaps the most serious public health threat today. It cannot wait four years. We must act now.”
Environment America also coordinated over 450 organizations, academics, civic leaders, and businesses to deliver a letter to Congress demanding a swift transition to 100% renewable energy. Said the letter, “We can have healthier, more vibrant communities and a livable future for kids growing up today. But to get there, we must transform the ways we produce and consume energy.”
800 Earth scientists and energy experts, “united in recognizing that the science is unequivocal and America must respond,” penned this open letter urging Trump to take six key steps to act on climate change. A larger coalition of over 2,300 scientists from a broader range of disciplines also spoke out, demanding that Trump and Congress “adhere to high standards of scientific integrity and independence in responding to current and emerging public health and environmental health threats.”
Cities are on the front lines of climate change, and the most vulnerable residents suffer the most from impacts. To address this, 35 mayors from communities large and small signed a letter to Trump reminding him that voters overwhelmingly support climate solutions, and asking him to partner with city leaders to build a stronger economy, provide our citizens with abundant, affordable energy, and create a healthier future for America’s children.
The wave of collaboration and unity inspired by our current national challenge is impressive – now, let’s build on it. We need to keep the chorus growing stronger until it cannot be ignored. Join us and raise your voice for climate action!