All three members of Vermont's congressional delegation have strongly condemned President Donald Trump’s decision to withdraw the United States from the Paris climate agreement.
Trump announced his decision Thursday from the Rose Garden at the White House, generating immediate criticism from environmental groups.
Sen. Bernie Sanders called the move “an abdication of American leadership and an international disgrace,” and Sen. Patrick Leahy called it a “great leap backward” that “is another bow to anti-science know-nothingism.”
Sanders previously criticized the Paris agreement, saying that it wasn’t doing enough to address climate change.
In a statement responding to Trump’s decision to abandon the agreement, Sanders said the United States has a moral obligation to deal with climate change.
“At this moment, when climate change is already causing devastating harm around the world, we do not have the moral right to turn our backs on efforts to preserve this planet for future generations,” Sanders said.
Leahy’s statement suggested that the U.S. will lose its relevance in global politics if the country doesn’t honor the Paris agreement.
“We are at our best when we work toward a common goal, and nearly every nation on Earth has agreed to do exactly that,” Leahy said. “The rest of the world will now move ahead toward a future of clean energy and related economic growth, with us taking a step back from leadership.”
Rep. Peter Welch, in a statement, said Americans will keep working to address climate change with or without President Trump.
“Today, President Trump walked away from the greatest challenge of our time," Welch said. "His decision to withdraw from the Paris Climate Agreement is a stunning rejection of science, international cooperation, and economic opportunity. It imperils our national and global security, and will do irreversible harm to our planet. American leadership is essential to preserving our planet for future generations. This fight is not over. We will move forward without him.”
Gov. Phil Scott, a Republican, previously called on the Trump administration to honor the Paris agreement in a letter co-signed by Republican Gov. Charlie Baker of Massachusetts.
At a news conference earlier this week, Scott reiterated his position.
“I think we all have to march forward together,” Scott said. “I think a splintered approach doesn’t work, and it puts all the pressure on one entity.”