Mayor Bill de Blasio is taking a stand against President Donald Trump on climate change, calling the president’s wavering commitment to the Paris agreement “destructive to the Earth and horribly destructive for New York City.”
On Wednesday, the mayor announced he plans to sign an executive order later this week that would keep the city in line with the international climate change accord.
“This is a dagger aimed straight to the heart of New York City,” de Blasio said during an unrelated news conference in Red Hook. “If climate change is not addressed, one of the greatest coastal cities on the Earth will be increasingly threatened.”
Trump said on Wednesday he plans to make a decision on the Paris agreement “very soon,” but a source briefed on the situation said the president does intend to fulfill his campaign promise of removing the United States from the 195-nation climate deal.
The Paris agreement, which the United States agreed to in 2015 under former President Barack Obama, aims to combat climate change by taking active steps to reduce global greenhouse gas emissions, which scientists blame for warming the planet, rising sea levels, droughts and an increase in violent storms.
Speaking to the crowd in Red Hook, de Blasio evoked the damage inflicted by superstorm Sandy, arguing that as a New Yorker, Trump should know better than to turn his back on the deal.
“I want to remind everyone that here in Red Hook we saw the destructive power of nature in the age of climate change,” the mayor said. “We saw this community disrupted so tremendously by something that was directly affected by climate change.”
De Blasio called the Paris agreement the “biggest step forward” in fighting the effects of climate change, and said New York City would continue to support it, regardless of Trump’s decision, by teaming up with cities across the country who share the same views.
The mayor believes that if more cities also agree to honor the Paris agreement, the worst effects of climate change could be forestalled, even without the help of the federal government.
“We can stop what President Trump may be about to do from having a devastating effect on our own people,” he said.
If the Trump administration does withdraw the United States from the deal, it would put the country in league with Syria and Nicaragua as the world’s only nonparticipants.
Trump, who previously called global warming a hoax, has argued that the accord would cost the economy trillions of dollars without tangible benefits.