Lawmakers and activists who criticized the Paris Agreement in 2015 are now calling President Donald Trump “horrible” for moving to eliminate the highly contentious climate accord.
Environmentalists and Democrats who originally lambasted the deal to drastically reduce the world’s greenhouse gasses now stake out a different position two years after former President Barack Obama signed the non-binding accord.
“If President Trump pulls the U.S. out of the Paris climate agreement, it will be a horrific mistake,” Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, a Democrat and former presidential candidate, tweeted Wednesday.
No matter what Trump says or does, the people of the United States and the world will not turn their backs on this crisis.
— Bernie Sanders (@SenSanders) May 31, 2017
Obama promised to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 28 percent below 2005 levels by 2025. He also pledged $3 billion to help poorer countries like China and India to reduce their emissions. At the time, however, Sanders was unimpressed.
“The planet is in crisis. We need bold action in the very near future and this does not provide that,” Sanders said in December 2015, lamenting the fact that the deal was not legally binding.
Sanders wants to stop all forms of fossil fuel production on public land, and introduced legislation in 2015 to put a tax on carbon emissions, aiming to cut the country’s greenhouse gas emissions 80 percent by 2050.
Meanwhile, other environmental groups argued that the deal was frustrating because it didn’t go far enough to reel back manmade global warming. Kumi Naidoo, the executive director of Greenpeace International, for instance, said that elements of the deal “frustrate and disappoint” him.
“There is a yawning gap” in the deal, he said, referencing the accord’s reluctance to address technologies needed to reduce carbon emissions. Naidoo said that the agreement lacked teeth, but that it was an adequate place to start.
James Hansen, the so-called “grandfather of the global warming movement,” was even more brutal at the time.
“It’s a fraud really, a fake,” the Columbia University climatologist told reporters. “It’s just bulls**t for them to say: ‘We’ll have a 2C warming target and then try to do a little better every five years.’ It’s just worthless words. There is no action, just promises.”
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