GOP Governor Bucks White House, Will Uphold Paris Climate Accords

The backlash against President Trump’s decision to pull out of the historic Paris climate change agreement isn’t just for world leaders and Democrats anymore. Now, Republican Governor Charlie Baker of Massachusetts will hold the line alongside Democratic states like New York and California. Speaking from a statement, Governor Baker said as follows.

“As the commonwealth reiterates its commitment to exceed the emission reduction targets of the Paris Climate Agreement, today we join the U.S. Climate Alliance to expand our efforts while partnering with other states to combat climate change.”

Trump stirred outrage when he decided to pull the United States out of the agreement, provoking a backlash from European allies, Democrats, and even Communist China, currently the world’s biggest polluter.

Shortly after Trump announced the United States would withdraw last week, various state governors declared they would continue to lead their states towards the goals of the agreement, including New York, California, Washington, and Connecticut, all controlled by Democratic governors and all heavily blue. While Massachusetts is also a blue state, Governor Baker is the first Republican governor to break ranks with the GOP’s anti-climate change policy of President Trump.

New York’s gross state product was $1.4 trillion and California’s was $2.6 trillion in 2016 out of a total U.S. GDP of around $17 trillion, making them the third and first largest economies in the United States. Should these states decide to implement the climate change goals of Paris, it would effectively force most American companies to comply, as the country’s largest carbon emitters often have business or major market shares in these two huge states.

Some took to social media to urge on other moderate Republican governors to set up, like Governor John Kasich of Ohio, who ran unsuccessfully against Donald Trump during the election.

Others, however, expressed skepticism that Baker was doing anything more than playing smart politics.

On the Federal level, Massachusetts hosts some of the most liberal Congressional representatives, including Elizabeth Warren and Joe Kennedy III. Former Republican governors include unsuccessful 2012 GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney, who introduced what was popularly called “Romneycare,” an insurance reform forerunner of what later became Obamacare, or the Affordable Care Act.

Governor Baker (left) looks on as GE’s CEO Jeff Immelt (center) speaks in Boston. GE has also lashed into Trump over the withdrawal from the Paris accord. [Image by AP Photo/Michael Dwyer]

Trump’s decision to pull out of the accord leaves the U.S. in sparse company. Only Nicaragua and Syria have refused to join the agreement.

Trump has come under intense attack from liberals and centrists over the decision, with the president refusing to state publicly if he believes climate change. However, just this morning, UN Ambassador Nikki Haley stated that Trump does believe in climate change, even if he doesn’t believe in the Paris agreement. This contradicts various Trump tweets from years past where the president blasted climate change as a Chinese hoax meant to fleece American workers.

Leading up to the withdrawal, 22 Republican senators urged him to pull out of the accord. That is, however, less than half of the GOP’s Senate ranks. The Republicans currently have 52 Senators, including in states where some of them are vulnerable in the midterms in 2018.

Increasingly, the GOP finds itself at odds with itself over major issues like climate change, taxes, and healthcare reform, with more centrist Republicans fearing backlash on the scale of the 2010 wipeout that decimated the Democrat’s once-in-a-generation supermajority they’d gained in 2008. Liberals are hopeful for just that, with repeated GOP decision pleasing their electoral base but enraging everyone else, pushing a mass turnout that will give the Democrats full control of the House and Senate for the remainder of President Trump’s term.

The scientific community has no such internal debates. For mainstream scientists, climate change caused by human activity is no longer up for discussion. The only question remains just how much damage will be done and how fast.

[Featured Image by Branden Camp/AP Photo]

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