PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — While President Donald Trump received applause in the White House Rose Garden Thursday after announcing the U.S. would abandon the global climate accord, feedback from leaders in the Pacific Northwest was less enthusiastic.
The U.S. now joins Syria and Nicaragua as the only 3 countries not part of the climate agreement, which is aimed at reducing carbon emissions around the world and slowing climate change.
Oregon senators and the governor spoke out against the move shortly afterwards.
“The decision by this administration to withdraw from the Paris agreement is both irresponsible and unfortunate,” Governor Kate Brown told KOIN 6 News.
Despite Trump’s decision, Brown said the state will remain committed to reducing greenhouse gas emissions, along with others in the Pacific Coast Collaborative.
“As governor, I want to continue to move Oregon forward, we will not go backwards,” she said. “We will continue our forwards movement around reducing greenhouse gas emissions and preparing for global climate change.”
The president said he chose to pull out of the deal because it gives “countries an economic edge over the United States.” He said the agreement “disadvantages” the U.S. and is causing jobs to be lost and wages to drop.
But Brown disagreed, saying she sees “cleaner and greener energy as a job creator.”
“Our economies are growing and thriving because we are investing in innovative technologies,” Brown continued.
Rachel Shimshak, executive director of renewable energy advocate organization Renewable Northwest, said it’s inarguable green energy is creating jobs in the state.
“We have a lot of jobs at stake here in Oregon,” Shimshak said. “There are some 5,000 jobs that have been created for renewable energy alone.”
She said she thinks Trump’s decision will be a “blow to the reputation of the country.”
In his statement, Sen. Ron Wyden agreed, saying rejecting the agreement “weakens American leadership abroad and makes it harder for U.S. businesses to compete.”
Brown said Oregon is set to move away from coal-generated power by 2030. By 2040, Pacificorp and PGE will have to get 50% of their electricity from renewables.
Shimshak said she’s confident Oregon will continue moving forward when it comes to advancements in green energy, “because that’s what the people here want.”
Washington Governor Jay Inslee announced he and the governors of California and New York joined forces to create the United States Climate Alliance.
Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler said the city will reenter the Paris climate accord.