The Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Cities Initiative (Cities Initiative) has issued a statement to strongly denounce the decision of President Trump to back out of the Paris Agreement on Climate Change.

The statement reads: “The decision is short sighted, ill advised, and not in the best interests of the people of the United States, Canada, or the world. With climate change posing one of the greatest threats to the planet and its water, it is unacceptable for the second largest source of greenhouse gas emissions not to participate in this global effort.”

Montreal Mayor Denis Coderre, who is the current Chair of the Cities Initiative, said, “The Paris Agreement, a historic diplomatic success, expresses an unprecedented willingness of the international community to put the world on the path to more sustainable development. Cities have played a crucial role in the success of the Paris Conference, affirming the determination of municipal and regional authorities to act together to fight climate change.

He added, “The declaration of the President of the United States to withdraw from the Paris Agreement breeds consternation in the major cities of the world. In spite of this setback, though, cities shall not give up, and are conscious of fully meeting their responsibilities. Cities will remain at the forefront of the fight against climate change, and will continue to ensure constant leadership to maintain the impetus given by the Paris Agreement.”

Mayor Paul Dyster of Niagara Falls, NY, who is vice chair of the organization stated, “With a total lack of leadership in Washington on this issue, cities are prepared to step forward with states, provinces, business, organizations, and all who are willing to take on the greatest challenge to our future. We are already implementing many measures to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, adapt to the many changes already occurring, and becoming more resilient to the changes that are just around the corner.”

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Mayor Sandra Cooper of the Town of Collingwood, Ontario, said, “These dangers from climate change are clear and present in the streets of our cities today, and we do not have the luxury of abandoning our responsibility to deal with them.  We will step up and step forward.”

Executive Director of the Cities Initiative David Ullrich summed up the release by saying, “This action by the Trump administration confirms a total lack of understanding and appreciation for the magnitude of the challenge presented by climate change. The future economic well-being and quality of life of our region depend on our collective efforts to solve this problem.”

The Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Cities Initiative is a coalition representing 130 United States and Canadian mayors and their communities of over 17 million people. On June 14–16, 2017 the organization will host an annual meeting and conference, entitled, Future of the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence on the Agenda for Montréal’s 375th Anniversary.

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