Paris Withdrawal Diminishes U.S. Leadership in the World

By Mike Stevens, Washington State Director

Leadership has been a hallmark of American history. While far from perfect, the United States has established itself around the world because of the sacrifice and service, in war and peace, of many Americans of all backgrounds and perspectives. My own career in the environment has been, in part, my way of honoring the service of multiple generations in my family, as soldiers, aviators, teachers and firefighters.

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One of our nationโ€™s great legacies in the world has been the development of institutions and agreements that seek to make the world a healthier, safer, more equitable place. These agreements are predicated on the hard work of building and sustaining partnerships with other countries.

The announcement that the United States will begin the process of withdrawing from the Paris climate agreements serves to diminish our leadership in the world. The agreement embodies the never-perfect, but always essential, role of international cooperation and shared purpose.

At The Nature Conservancy, we have a long tradition of working in a collaborative, non-partisan way to generate lasting benefits for people and nature. This is a tradition we will work hard to sustain. We will also work harder than ever to highlight the real, current impacts of climate change on people at home and around the world, especially vulnerable communities. We will redouble our commitment to achieving tangible, lasting gains to develop innovative, fair approaches to reducing greenhouse-gas emissions while promoting economic prosperity and quality of life.

Clouds roll in new Mount Baker. Photo by Jacob Hall.

Our commitment to our planet is stronger than ever. Climate change must not be politicized and we must all pull together to generate the will, resources and innovative approaches needed to tackle one of the biggest threats of our time. We do this work out of respect for the leaders who came before us and in service to the generations that will follow.