U.S. Withdrawal from Paris Accord Shirks Science, Neglects Devastating Impacts to Food System, Family Farms, and Future Generations
WASHINGTON – President Donald Trump announced today that the U.S. will withdraw from the historic Paris Agreement, an accord among 192 nations to combat the potentially devastating impacts of climate change.
Echoing concerns raised in a recent letter to President Trump, National Farmers Union (NFU) President Roger Johnson said the President’s decision rejects science and U.S. leadership in an effort that requires global attention. Family farmers and ranchers are already enduring consequences of climate change, and projections indicate these effects will worsen without an immediate and significant reduction in greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.
“Today’s decision by the Trump Administration is shameful, and it fails to recognize the very real and immediate threats of climate change to family farmers, ranchers, and our nation’s food security,” said Johnson. “We can not sustain a viable food system if climate change is left unchecked. By refusing to limit U.S. greenhouse gas emissions and lead the world in this space, President Trump is allowing increasingly unpredictable and destructive weather to wreak havoc on family farm operations, future generations, and food prices and availability for years to come.
“This action also has enormous implications for our nation’s credibility,” he added. “It is nearly inconceivable that the U.S. would repudiate sound science that the rest of the world has accepted and abdicate our leadership on an issue of such great importance.”
Under the Paris Agreement, the U.S. pledged to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by at least 26 percent by 2025. Many of the actions that would have helped the U.S. achieve that goal would have stimulated economic growth in rural communities. This prompted NFU to be a vocal proponent of the agreement since its ratification in December 2015.
“When properly incentivized, farmers, ranchers, and forest owners have tremendous potential to sequester carbon and contribute to the mitigation of climate change,” said Johnson. “By taking away the opportunity for such revenue streams, the President has stripped rural America of valuable opportunities to confront the current farm crisis and stem the exodus of young people from rural communities.”
The President’s move leaves the U.S. without an effective strategy for climate resilience, exposing family farmers and ranchers to the worst effects of climate change. “This will have devastating consequences for family farming and ranching operations and all those who rely on them for food, feed, fuel and fiber,” said Johnson.
“NFU will seek opportunities to collaborate with nonprofits and private industry to address climate change productively. Decisive action is urgently needed to avoid catastrophic climate impacts on the food system,” he concluded.
National Farmers Union has been working since 1902 to protect and enhance the economic well-being and quality of life for family farmers, ranchers and rural communities through advocating grassroots-driven policy positions adopted by its membership.