ROCKVILLE – After President Donald J. Trump announced his decision June 1 to withdraw the United States from an international agreement to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, Montgomery County refuses to follow suit.
On Tuesday the Montgomery County Council unanimously supported a resolution that was introduced to affirm a commitment to the Paris Climate Accords, an international agreement that 195 nations signed in order to reduce levels of carbon dioxide emissions to stem the rise of climate change.
Montgomery County joins large cities nationwide such as Pittsburgh, Seattle, Atlanta and Philadelphia, which have made similar pledges to follow the Paris Climate Accords’ promise to reduce greenhouse gases.
Trump called the Paris Climate Accords a bad deal for American workers, saying it would require the United States to follow onerous regulations. During his speech explaining his decision to withdraw from the agreement, Trump said he was elected to “represent the people of Pittsburgh, not Paris.”
“If we want to make the United States more secure, we don’t do that by withdrawing from international agreements,” said County Council member George Leventhal (D-at large). “We don’t make our country more secure by making snarky comments extolling Pittsburgh over Paris.”
Montgomery County has its own environmental standards it sets for itself, meaning Trump’s decision to withdrawal does not affect Montgomery as it was not a part of the agreement. In 2008, the Council voted to pledge to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 10 percent every five years. In 2016, the County said all the energy it purchases comes from clean sources and any fossil fuels the County does use, the County purchases carbon offsets.
After Trump’s decision was announced, County Executive Ike Leggett pledged to keep to the County’s environmental standards it set for itself.
“We take seriously the importance of increasing energy efficiency, growing renewable energy sources and reducing our greenhouse gases as much as possible. It is the right thing to do for our residents, our local economy and future generations and we will not waiver on our responsibilities,” Leggett said.
President Barack Obama signed the agreement in 2015, pledging the U.S. would reduce its carbon emissions by 14.3 percent. However, Congress never ratified the agreement, meaning Trump can withdraw the U.S. from the agreement by himself.