President Donald Trump followed through on his campaign promise to pull out of the Paris climate accord at an announcement Thursday afternoon.
“I will work to ensure that the U.S. remains the world's leader on environmental issues,” Trump said from the White House Rose Garden. “But under a framework that remains fair and that the burdens and responsibilities are equally shared."
The president said participating in the international agreement signed by nearly 200 nations hurts the American economy, especially in the energy industry. He has also been skeptical of man-made global warming and at times called it a hoax.
“There is simply no denying what we know in Connecticut when we see rising tide levels,” Sen. Richard Blumenthal said, “super-storms that have become the new normal.”
Blumenthal said at a Thursday news conference that he is worried withdrawing from the deal undermines American leadership and means other countries could take the lead in developing renewable energy technologies.
“If we go to the sidelines, if we withdraw from the field,” Blumenthal said. “China, India, all of western Europe will fill that gap, they will create the jobs that we would otherwise.”
States like Connecticut could lose out, Blumenthal added.
“We don’t have oil wells,” he said. “We don’t have coal mines. What we have is fuel cell manufacturing as well as solar and wind potential.”
New Haven Mayor Toni Harp told NBC Connecticut her city remains committed to reducing carbon emissions by encouraging people to ride their bikes, carpool or use public transportation.
“If the country refuses to lead through its chief executive officer, we’ll do it from the ground up,” Harp said. “Each and every one of us has an obligation to understand the way in which we influence our planet.”
The City of New Haven has replaced lights on the Green and in 80 percent of neighborhoods across the city with LED ones as another way to promote environmental sustainability, the mayor said.
Trump did leave open the possibility of negotiating a revised climate deal.