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ASLA Response to Trump's Actions on Paris Accord
"Strongly Object" to Withdrawal

The following is the ASLA's response to President Trump's withdrawal of the United States from the Paris climate accord.

The following is the ASLA's response to President Trump's withdrawal of the United States from the Paris climate accord.

"Today, President Donald J. Trump announced that his administration is withdrawing the United States from the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, a landmark accord also known as the Paris Agreement signed by former President Barrack Obama in 2015.

"The Agreement's central aim is to strengthen the global response to the threat of climate change by keeping a global temperature rise this century below 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels and to strengthen the ability of countries to deal with the impacts of climate change. Currently, only two other countries declined to join the Paris Agreement: Syria and Nicaragua.

"Recently, ASLA EVP Nancy Somerville, Hon. ASLA, hand delivered a letter signed by nearly 2,000 landscape architects and others, addressed to Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Scott Pruitt urging the administration not to withdraw the United States from the Paris Agreement, and to discontinue its current efforts to roll back U.S. climate policies."

The letter to Pruitt follows.

"We, the undersigned landscape architects and allied stakeholders, submit the following comments in response to your request for public input on Presidential Actions Related to Regulatory Reform.

"As landscape architects who lead in the stewardship of our natural environments, we are extremely concerned about recent actions by the administration to eliminate federal programs and policies that protect and preserve our planet's viability. In particular, we strongly object to activities that roll back U.S. climate policies, undermine the collection and dissemination of climate science and data, and withdraw the United States from the Paris Agreement. These actions not only endanger our natural resources, they also jeopardize our vulnerable economy and threaten our national security.

"Recently, President Trump issued an Executive Order to review the Clean Power Plan, rescind several climate-related regulations and reports, reverse the moratorium on new mining leases on federal land, and overturn other climate-related federal activities. The Order also revokes The President's Climate Action Plan, which called on the federal government to make "climate-resilient investments" through agency grants and technical assistance to local communities. Together, these actions completely abandon the United States' roadmap to achieving emissions reductions, and leave local communities vulnerable to the destructive impacts of climate change, including worsening air pollution, heatwaves, poor water quality, coastal erosion, sea level rise, wildfires, drought, and other devastations.

"Landscape architecture combines science and design to plan and protect a variety of outdoor spaces, including: multimodal transportation networks; water and stormwater management systems; parks and outdoor recreational facilities; residential communities; commercial developments; and more. Our profession understands the importance of and relies on credible science and data, which heightens our concern for recent administration recommendations to cut funding for critical federal scientific research and development programs, particularly climate science programs. Many of these programs not only diagnose the causes of the changes in the Earth's climate system, they also provide solutions and technologies to mitigate the risks from climate change, while also creating new economic opportunities for the nation.

"Climate change is one of the greatest threats to our planet and our nation, but can also be a catalyst for great economic opportunities. Employing more green infrastructure projects and low impact development, increasing active transportation networks, creating more parks and open spaces, utilizing alternative energy sources like solar and wind are just a few climate mitigation techniques that also create new economic opportunities, including local jobs.

"We are also concerned about recent threats/comments to withdraw the United States from the Paris Agreement on global climate change. This landmark accord would strengthen the global response to the threat of climate change and the ability of countries to deal with its devastating impacts. The United States should continue to honor its global commitment to the agreement and take every action possible to achieve its principles and goals.

"We urge you, as the major federal official charged with protecting and preserving our natural resources, to change course and work to continue federal carbon reducing programs and regulations, fund scientific research and make it accessible to the American people, and honor the United States' commitment to the Paris Agreement. Thank you for this opportunity to provide comments on this critical issue."

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April 22, 2019, 3:56 am PDT

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