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The Suffolk Journal

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State lawmakers, universities pledge to continue standing behind Paris Accord

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On Thursday, President Trump announced that he would pull the United States out of the Paris Climate Accord and join Nicaragua and Syria as the only countries not to follow the environmental pact. The decision, which President Trump alluded to before his formal announcement, is the latest furtherance of the isolationist agenda he has voiced for the entirety of his political career.
A statement issued from the White House stated that Trump “reassured the leaders that America remains committed to the trans-Atlantic alliance and to robust efforts to protect the environment.”

Shortly after the statement was released, French, German and Italian political leaders signed a joint statement calling the Paris Accord “Irreversible.”

“I was elected to represent the people of Pittsburgh, not Paris.” said Trump during the Thursday press conference. While garnering support from the some members of the Republican party, the decision has been widely opposed by political figureheads across the country including those in Boston.

A growing number of mayors, governors, and university presidents across the country are vowing to uphold the regulations set by the Paris Accord, including Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker and Boston Mayor Martin J. Walsh.

The unnamed coalition includes more than 30 mayors, three governors, 80 university presidents and 100 businesses. They have pledged to the United Nations meet the US greenhouse gas emission targets under the Paris Climate Accord, but there is no formal way for entities that are not countries to be recognized by the U.N. as full parties.

In a statement, Suffolk University Acting President Marisa Kelly stated that, while she supports the Paris Accord, she has not yet joined the coalition.

“The new extension of our strategic plan calls for the creation of a Suffolk Sustainability Committee,” said Kelly in the statement. “I have taken the first steps to create that committee and intend to have it fully up and running by the fall semester. I think it is appropriate to ask this group for an assessment of our next steps as a university in light of the U.S. withdrawal from the Paris Accord.”

Shortly after Trump announced his decision to back out of the Paris Accord, Massachusetts Senator Edward Markey held a town hall meeting in downtown Boston’s Paramount Theatre shortly after Trump made his announcement that will ultimately lessen the country’s effort to fight global warming. Mayor Walsh, Democratic Senator Linda Dorcena Lorry and Massachusetts Representative Michael Capuano accompanied Markey.

225 people attended the event, according to Senator Markey’s communications director Giselle Barry, filling nearly every seat the theater had available.

The Boston’s Children’s Choir took the stage to warm up the crowd and set the tone for the event by singing “This land is my land,” which they noted was a “rebel song from the 1920’s.”
Following the musical performance, Representative Capuano spoke briefly before introducing Mayor Walsh to the stage.

“When you’re in the trenches fighting for the people you represent, you want to look to your side find people that’ll stand alongside with you,” Capuano said, before Walsh took the stage.  “We all make compromises, but there’s a line.”

Walsh didn’t hold back the disdain he felt towards Trump’s decision, condemning the president’s actions and calling for continued environmental advocacy.

“We have to do more to make sure we are protecting this environment,” said Walsh. “If you look at a map of the city of Boston and the flood zones, half of downtown is under water.”

Walsh urged everyone in attendance to exercise civic activism and make their voices heard in local government.

“We can bury our head under a pillow for the next four years and hope it goes away, or we can stand up and fight,” said Walsh

After Walsh made his statements, he called Senator Markey, the town hall’s featured speaker, to the stage.

“I think we all have PTSD: Post-Trump stress disorder,” Markey said, evoking laughter from the crowd. “If you fight for your principles everyday, you tend to feel better at night, but you have to keep doing it every day.”

Markey announced that he would continue to fight for the creation of environment and the clean energy jobs of Massachusetts. According to Markey, Massachusetts employs more than 100,000 in the clean energy sector and adds about 10,000 more each year.

“Today was a very low point for America,” Markey said. “[Trump] decided he would remove the U.S. from Paris agreement.”

Midway through Markey’s’ address, he received word that Boston’s City Hall would be lit up with green LED lights throughout the night, a symbolic gesture that was demonstrated in landmark buildings across the world including Paris’s City Hall and Mexico City’s City Hall.

 

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State lawmakers, universities pledge to continue standing behind Paris Accord