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Mayor De Blasio and Cuomo say New York will honor Paris climate accord after U.S. pulls out

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De Blasio and Cuomo respond to the news that the Trump administration will abandon the landmark agreement to fight climate change

Jamaica Bay, Queens, is one of many NYC neighborhoods hit hard after Hurricane Sandy—and one that will be severely impacted by climate change.
Nathan Kensinger

This post has been updated with new information as it becomes available.

In a break with all but two nations across the world, President Donald Trump announced today that the United States would withdraw from the Paris climate accord, a historic agreement to lessen the country’s carbon footprint in an attempt to fight the global effects of climate change.

In the wake of that decision, 247 mayors across the U.S. announced that they would step up their cities’ own efforts to combat climate change, and adopt the Paris climate agreement on a local scale. Mayor Bill de Blasio, unsurprisingly, is among the members of the Climate Mayors, and in a statement, he denounced Trump’s move:

“President Trump can turn his back on the world, but the world cannot ignore the very real threat of climate change. This decision is an immoral assault on the public health, safety and security of everyone on this planet. New Yorkers are already experiencing hotter summers, more powerful storms and rising seas, which disproportionately affect already vulnerable communities.

At a press conference yesterday for the launch of the latest leg of the NYC Ferry, De Blasio did not mince words—surely no coincidence, since the event was held in Red Hook, a neighborhood hit particularly hard by Hurricane Sandy.

“We saw this community disrupted so tremendously by something that was directly affected by climate change,” De Blasio noted. “There’s no question about it. Hurricane Sandy, Nor’easter—all that occurred in that super storm—was because of climate change. We’ve already borne the brunt here in New York City. It’s only going got get worse if something is not done quickly to reverse the course the earth is on.”

De Blasio plans to issue an executive order that will “honor the goals of the Paris agreement,” though what shape that will take remains to be seen. He’ll almost certainly have the backing of other New York city officials; both Public Advocate Letitia James and Comptroller Scott Stringer, among others, have issued their own statements condemning the Trump administration’s decision.

While the effects of climate change have already transformed parts of New York City—particularly its waterfronts, as documented by Camera Obscura columnist Nathan Kensinger in the years since Hurricane Sandy—things will likely only get worse in the years to come. Recent research has found that much of the five boroughs could be underwater within a century, and the city is already redrawing the current flood maps in an effort to better prepare for how climate change will reshape New York’s landscape.

UPDATE: Governor Cuomo, along with California Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. and Washington State Governor Jay R. Inslee have announced the formation of the United States Climate Alliance, a coalition that will convene U.S. states committed to upholding the Paris Accord and continuing to take action against climate change.

“The White House’s reckless decision to withdraw from the Paris Climate Agreement has devastating repercussions not only for the United States, but for our planet. This administration is abdicating its leadership and taking a back seat to other countries in the global fight against climate change,” Governor Cuomo said in a statement announcing the formation of the alliance.

The alliance will act as a forum to strengthen existing climate programs and impliment new programs to reduce carbon emissions. Per the statement, residents of Washington, California, and New York represent about 20 percent of the country’s population.