Washington – Sen. Richard Blumenthal said President Donald Trump’s expected decision to pull the United States from the Paris climate accord will cost Connecticut jobs and hurt U.S. credibility overseas.
The agreement, signed in 2015 by more than 190 nations in the French capital, aims to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, which have been linked to climate change.
Blumenthal said quitting the accord would hurt Connecticut’s renewable energy industry. The state is a leader in the production of fuel cells and also makes components for the solar and wind energy industry.
“Withdrawal from the climate change agreement would be a job killer,” Blumenthal said. “It would also be catastrophic in the battle against climate change.”
The Paris agreement required its signatories to pledge to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. But nations were given wide leeway in how much they planned to reduce them.
While Trump is expected to pull the United States from the accord, he has not made an official announcement.
Instead he tweeted Wednesday “I will be announcing my decision on the Paris Accord over the next few days. MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN!”
Trump had a scheduled meeting Wednesday afternoon with Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, who has advocated that the United States remain a part of the Paris accord and could continue to lobby the president to change his mind.
But Trump made a campaign promise to quit the Paris agreement, saying it hurt mining jobs in West Virginia and western states.
“That’s the biggest irony of Donald Trump’s hypocrisy,” Blumenthal said. “Because coal jobs are not coming back.”
About two-thirds of the coal mining jobs in the United States have disappeared since the 1980s, a result, some economists say, of the fact that other forms of energy, like natural gas, are cleaner and cheaper than coal.
Sen. Chris Murphy joined Blumenthal and other Democrats in condemning any move to quit the Paris accord.
“In the age of political hyperbole, this is no hyperbole: pass the (American Health Care Act) and people die; pull out of #Paris and the planet begins to die,” Murphy tweeted.