The Paris Agreement is unstoppable, as are our volunteers

Tony and Peter

The Paris Agreement is unstoppable, as are our volunteers

By Mark Reynolds

We knew it was coming, but that foreknowledge did not diminish the blow many of us felt last week when President Trump announced that the United States is withdrawing from the Paris climate agreement.

In our press release last week, I called Trump’s decision the biggest failure of leadership in American history. To say the least, I was angry, but that anger is tempered by knowing this: If there is any group of people who can overcome a devastating setback like this, it is the thousands of CCL volunteers who have diligently worked over the years to narrow the political divide in Washington over climate change.

Now that we’ve had a few days to process the magnitude and ramifications of the Paris pullout, let’s look at our response and the path forward on solving climate change.

First, even before the exit from Paris, it was obvious that any action to uphold the U.S. commitment to the Paris accord would have to go through Congress, and CCL is the organization best positioned to lead that charge on Capitol Hill. We have 1,300 people registered for our conference this weekend in Washington, with 1,000 of them participating in our lobby day on June 13.

Second, the work we’ve done to help create and grow the ranks of the Climate Solutions Caucus couldn’t have been more prescient. Public opinion polls show overwhelming disapproval of the decision to leave the Paris accord. That said, many Republicans will be looking for ways to distance themselves from this decision, and joining the caucus is one of the ways they can do that. The caucus now has 40 members. That number could reach 60 before the August recess, thanks to the persistent work of CCL volunteers building relationships with their members of Congress. Can you say “critical mass”?

Third, the Republican leader of the caucus, Carlos Curbelo, went on CNN and told the world, “If the administration won’t lead [on climate], Congress must.” Watch Curbelo’s interview below:

In the wake of the Paris pullout, there are several meaningful ways for thoughtful citizens to respond:

  • Ask your representative, especially if they are Republican, to join the bipartisan House Climate Solutions Caucus using our online action tool.
  • Write to the White House, using their online contact form, and tell them you strongly disagree with the decision to quit Paris.
  • Get letters and op-eds published in your local paper about the Paris Agreement and how we could meet our commitment to the accord while ADDING jobs to our economy through Carbon Fee and Dividend.
  • Call Congress this Friday and tell them to support Carbon Fee and Dividend. These calls will set the table for our meetings on the Hill June 13. Share this action on your social media platforms.

Millions of Americans are still in a state of shock and profound despair over last week’s decision. For me, however, that despair was short-lived, because we have a way forward, an approach that works and the most persistent and dedicated advocates in the country.

The Paris Agreement is unstoppable, and so are our volunteers.

Mark Reynolds is executive director of Citizens’ Climate Lobby.


Steve Valk
Steve Valk is Communications Coordinator for Citizens' Climate Lobby. Steve joined the CCL staff in 2009 after a 30-year career with the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Follow him on Twitter at @valklimate.