Pa. Gov. Wolf, 11 other governors, urge Trump in letter to stay in Paris pact

Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf was one of 12 Democratic governors signing a letter Wednesday afternoon urging President Trump not to pull out of the Paris Climate Agreement.

The letter comes on the heels of reports that the administration is leaning toward an exit.

“Given the progress our states have made in reducing greenhouse gas emissions, we are convinced that the United States’ goal of 26-28 percent below 2005 levels is readily achievable,” the letter states.

President Obama signed the Paris agreement in 2015. The non-binding agreement, so far ratified by 144 countries, seeks to limit global temperature rise.  The U.S. agreed to a 26 to 28 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2025.  As part of that, the Obama administration launched the Clean Power Plan, which Trump has already begun trying to unravel.

But there have been splits in the administration over whether a complete pull out from the Paris agreement is wise. Trump strategist Stephen Bannon and EPA administrator Scott Pruitt are said to be the two key people urging for an exit.

On the other side, Trump’s daughter, Ivanka, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, and even Secretary of Energy Rick Perry are said to believe the U.S. should attempt to modify its commitment, rather than pull-out entirely.

Even Exxon Mobil, where Tillerson was formerly CEO, has sent a letter to the White House asking it not to leave the first of its kind international accord, saying the U.S. can meet the current greenhouse gas reductions, primarily because of the rise in natural gas.  

The governors’ letter notes that both China and India are committing to the agreement. China, the U.S., and India are, respectively, the biggest emitters of carbon dioxide, the chief greenhouse gas.

“If the U.S. does not maintain global climate leadership through national policies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and transition to clean energy, China and India will,” the letter cautions.

The governors of California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Minnesota, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island, Virginia, and Washington also all signed the letter, noting they represent 38 percent of the national GDP.

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