In Withdrawing From Paris Climate Agreement, US Squanders Global Leadership Role

Washington, DC (06/01/2017) — Leaders of the Hindu American Foundation strongly criticized the decision to withdraw the United States from the groundbreaking Paris Agreement on climate change. In doing so, the US joins two other countries as the only nations not agreeing to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to levels needed to maintain a stable climate, keeping global temperature rise “well below” 2°C.

“As Hindu Americans, it’s our duty to advocate for protection of our environment,” stated Mat McDermott, HAF’s Director of Communications and lead author of the 2015 Hindu Declaration on Climate Change. “The Hindu text, Srimad Bhagavatam says that, ‘Ether, air, fire, water, earth, planets, all creatures, directions, trees and plants, rivers and seas, they are all organs of God’s body. Remembering this a devotee respects all species.’ Unfortunately, starting to withdraw from the Paris Agreement represents a major step backwards not only for environmental protection, but the global leadership our country had developed on climate change and environmental issues.”

Several hundred businesses, including major energy corporations, recently expressed public support for the Paris accord and urged the US not to withdraw from it.

“The withdrawal from the Paris Agreement contradicts views of the overwhelming majority of scientific, business, energy industry, and spiritual leaders on climate change, as well as the will of the American people — all of whom believe the US is better off staying in the agreement,” McDermott added.

Shortly following the announcement, several major US cities, as well as governors of the states of California, New York, and Washington, indicated they would abide by the Agreement.

Similar re-commitment has been made by the world’s leading carbon emitters, European Union, China, and India, all of which have indicated willingness to increase their global leadership on climate change and clean energy. Earlier this week, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi told German Chancellor Angela Merkel that failing to act on climate change would be a “morally criminal act,” adding, “We do not have the right to despoil the environment for future generations.”