(Colin Cavanaugh / Graphics Editor)

Colin Cavanaugh / Graphics Editor

Boston defies Executive Branch against climate change

December 11, 2019

Boston has seen more push back against President Donald Trump and his climate policies since the Trump Administration officially began filing paperwork on Nov. 4 that will withdraw the United States from the Paris Climate Agreement.

This agreement was originally signed by over 197 countries within the United Nations in November 2016. With its introduction, ambitious goals were set by nations to reduce global carbon emissions and combat the rise of climate change.

Trump’s decision to pull out of the agreement follows a previous announcement he made in June 2017, where he initially stated his plan to abandon the global effort. At the time, he claimed the agreement was “a total disaster,” according to The Washington Post.

Many cities throughout the country are respond- ing to the decision by the President, with an AP Poll showing support for it from only 18% of Americans.

There are already surges of resistance in Boston to Trump’s stance on climate change and the Paris Agreement.

The city’s primary climate change engagement tool, Greenovate Boston, aims to get citizens involved in fighting climate change and to send a strong message to the President and his constituents in office.

Peyton Jones, the communications manager for Greenovate Boston, and representative of the pro- gram, stands firm on the city’s decision to continue to work towards goals set by the Paris Agreement.

“It is unfortunate, but the mayor has spoken out against this act of the federal government. Our stance, and the way were moving forward, is that we’re doing this either way,” said Jones.

This past September, students led the Youth Climate Protest in the Boston Common. With over 7,000 students in attendance, the demonstration showed that the youth in the city is clearly aligned with the attitudes of the city government and wishes for legislative action to be taken.

Proposed U.S. Legislation that aims to address climate change and economic inequality

simultaneously, like the Green New Deal.

Cam Lamoureux, a recent Suffolk Grad and Youth Climate Protest attendee, said he’s glad to see that the city is stand- ing up to Trump and his administration.

“I’m excited at the idea that there is push back on this,” Lamoureux said. “Climate change is a serious issue, and for a president who doesn’t take much seriously, it’s nice to see our city decided to take action on their own terms.”

The city of Boston is also a member of C40 Cities, a group of 94 cities around the world with goals set to match those of the Paris Agreement, such as limiting the cli- mate spike to well below two degrees Celsius. Cities involved in this group have enacted programs to encourage citizens to get involved in the reaching of these goals. Initiatives such as Greenovate Boston work with citizens to engage them to be the most effective at achieving their common objective to defeat climate change.

But Jones recognizes that doing this independently will prove as a challenge, even with all of the support that Boston already has from its citizens and local government.

“Obviously, we need support at every level of government to be optimally successful, but were going to have to do this without the federal government,” said Jones. “The mayor is really leading on climate action, as is the governor.”

In 2017, cities like Boston joined a coalition of over 3,500 leaders in business, government and cultural institutions to sign the “We Are Still In” declaration, which, accord- ing to the Boston Climate Action Plan, “Pledge[s] Boston’s continued sup- port for the Paris Climate Agreement, even as the U.S. President announced his intention to withdraw the United States from the agreement.”

Until the U.S. officially pulls out of the agreement— and after— Boston officials and activists will be fighting back.

“It is sort of like ‘too bad’ and it’s unfortunate in terms of global politics, but in terms of us meeting the goals of the Paris Agreement, and us becoming carbon neutral by 2050, we are on track to do that and we intend to do that regardless,” said Jones.

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