One December evening in 2015, world leaders from 195 nations signed on to the Paris Climate Agreement, pledging their allegiance to protecting our planet from climate change. Each country set its own goals in the hopes that, combined, they will keep global temperature increases to less than 2 degrees C above pre-industrial levels.
Today, President Trump voted to withdraw the United States from this agreement. But there's a catch: It will take him four years to do it.
Trump cited concerns that the agreement, which calls on the U.S. to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 26 to 28 percent by 2025, will undermine American jobs in traditional energy fields like coal, oil, and gas. His decision goes against the 71 percent of Americans, including the CEO of major energy corporations like Exxon, who think we should stay on. Safe to say that a lot of us are angry, confused, and concerned right now.
So what can we do? Instead of taking this as a blow to the environment, let's use it as our call to action. The withdrawal process laid out in the agreement takes up to four years to complete, so ultimately it will be up to us to inspire some major change in the meantime. Let's make waves on a local level that reverberate up to Washington and beyond. We can start by supporting the environmental organizations that need our help, buying from companies who have clear sustainability goals, and lobbying to enact legislation in our states.
This Earth Day, the president of the National Resources Defense Council, Rhea Suh, told mbg, "Frankly, that's the only thing that ever has made a difference: People standing up for what they believe in." This isn't the first setback the climate movement have faced over the years, but we have the chance to make it the last.
Start doing your part to protect the planet today by checking out our resources for any budding environmentalist. Keep checking in with mbg for more updates on how you can get involved.