Jeffrey Immelt, chairman and chief executive of General Electric, was among the political and business leaders in Massachusetts who reacted with disappointment Thursday to President Trump’s decision to withdraw the United States from the Paris climate agreement.
Immelt said in a tweet, “Climate change is real. Industry must now lead and not depend on government.”
Disappointed with today’s decision on the Paris Agreement. Climate change is real. Industry must now lead and not depend on government.— Jeff Immelt (@JeffImmelt) June 1, 2017
Former secretary of state John F. Kerry called Trump’s decision “an unprecedented forfeiture of American leadership.”
“It isolates the United States after we had united the world,” Kerry said in a statement. “In 2015, because of American leadership, nearly 200 countries came together around a science-based agreement to grapple with a global threat.”
“For a President to follow that historic step forward by unilaterally walking backwards from science and backwards from leadership on behalf of polluters and fringe ideologues may be the most self-defeating action in American history,” Kerry said.
Boston Mayor Martin J. Walsh said withdrawing from the agreement “isn’t just a setback, it’s irresponsible.”
“This damages our nation’s reputation as an international leader and puts future generations at risk to the threat of climate change. Boston will not standby given what’s at stake,” he said in a statement.
Walsh said the city would accelerate its efforts to become carbon-neutral by 2050. He also pledged to work with other cities around the country and the world to “uphold the tenets” of the agreement.
Massachusetts Democratic US Representative Stephen Lynch also decried Trump’s decision.
“It would be a national embarrassment for the United States to stand down while we allow China and others to lead the fight against the greatest global threat facing the earth,” the Boston Democrat said.
“We should not leave it to others to rescue us from the devastating impacts of severe weather and rising sea levels and the degradation of our environment. Massachusetts has taken a leadership role in responding to climate change and I strongly believe the United States must have a global leadership role as well,” he said.
Abandoning the Paris pact will isolate the United States from a raft of international allies who spent years negotiating the 2015 agreement to fight global warming and pollution by reducing carbon emissions in nearly 200 nations. While traveling abroad last week, Trump was repeatedly pressed to stay in the deal by European leaders and the pope. Withdrawing would leave the United States aligned only with Russia among the world’s industrialized economies.
Immelt isn’t the only American corporate leaders who believed the United States should stay in the pact. They include Apple, Google, and Walmart. Even fossil fuel companies such as Exxon Mobil, BP, and Shell say the United States should abide by the deal.
Material from The Associated Press was used in this report.