The U.S. Exits the Paris Climate Agreement

President Trump has announced his decision to exit the Paris Climate Agreement. This choice represents a blow to international efforts to curb greenhouse gas emissions as the U.S. is the largest carbon emitter in history. The international ramifications of the U.S. backing out of the Paris Agreement could be sweeping as many developing nations will depend on financial support from developed nations through the UN climate program. (Trump has said he would cut payments.)

Exiting the Paris Agreement is also a symbolic gesture that demonstrates President Trump’s disregard for the well-being of millions of people across the world, the survival of our planet and the will of the American people. (7 out of 10 Americans support staying in the Agreement.) What is worst, intentionally failing to act on climate is a betrayal of this country’s most vulnerable people. Those who live in environmental justice communities, who are already overburdened with toxins other environmental threats to their health will feel the impacts of climate change most severely. This unprecedented step to walk away from international cooperation signals an abandonment and complete abdication of our responsibilities as a developed nation - a nation that has benefited greatly from the dumping of carbon into the atmosphere. We made this climate mess and we are now leaving it to those least responsible and worst hit to clean it up in our wake.

Michelle DePass, Director of the Tishman Center, says "Today's action is not only short-sighted, but potentially suicidal. And the effects of these decisions will be borne overwhelmingly by the poor and communities of color within this country, and by poor and developing nations across the world. It is now up to both civil society and the private sector in this country to ensure that this doesn’t happen."

The Tishman Environment and Design Center remains dedicated to our role as an academic ally to the environmental and climate justice movements. We pledge to continue to work with communities and to leverage the unique strengths of The New School, particularly in design and social research, to advance equitable and just solutions for climate change. We stand in solidarity with community-based grassroots organizations; national and international institutions; city and state governments; and other nations who are committed to advancing a global effort to tackle the climate crisis.

Here at the Tishman Center, we will continue to work with our community partners to advance environmental justice on the ground at the same time that we will continue working to engage all students, faculty, and staff to become service oriented climate citizens. We will continue to foster a justice-based understanding of sustainability that translates into a culture of sustainable daily practice and climate action on campus and in our surrounding community. We will continue our work to integrate sustainability into the educational experience for all New School students.In spite of current national politics, we remain committed to a just and sustainable world.