Donald Trump uses Pittsburgh to justify pulling out of Paris climate agreement; Bill Peduto vows to follow global deal

“I was elected to represent the citizens of Pittsburgh, not Paris,” POTUS said to applause.

Donald Trump campaign event in Ambridge.

Donald Trump campaign event in Ambridge.

Jasmine Goldband / The Incline
Sarah Anne Hughes

Updated, 2:46 p.m. June 2

As President Donald Trump used the “citizens of Pittsburgh” to justify pulling out of a global climate deal, Mayor Bill Peduto vowed to follow the Paris agreement.

“I was elected to represent the citizens of Pittsburgh, not Paris,” Trump said to applause Thursday after announcing that he will withdraw the U.S. from the climate accord, an approximately four-year process.

In fact, the “citizens of Pittsburgh” voted overwhelmingly against Trump and for his Democratic opponent Hillary Clinton. Trump won just 40 percent of the vote in Allegheny County. In the city proper, Clinton won 77 percent of the vote, according to vote totals posted by the Post-Gazette.

Mayor Bill Peduto responded almost immediately on Twitter to vow that the city will follow the Paris accord.

“As the Mayor of Pittsburgh, I can assure you that we will follow the guidelines of the Paris Agreement for our people, our economy & future,” he tweeted. Peduto traveled to Paris shortly before the pact was signed in 2015 to attend a climate summit with other local leaders.

Trump did not hold a public campaign event in Pittsburgh proper during his presidential run. As a candidate, he held a rally in Ambridge and one near the Pittsburgh airport. (Trump filmed a Fox News segment at Soldiers and Sailors in Oakland in April 2016, and his attendance at a fundraiser Downtown led to large protests and arrests.)

During his speech Thursday, Trump also touted the opening of the Acosta Coal Mine in Jenner Township, Somerset County, about 65 miles from Pittsburgh. That mine is expected to provide 70 to 100 full-time jobs, WJAC reported.

But experts say pulling out of the climate deal is unlikely to bring back the coal industry in America. In fact, the move could harm the creation of jobs in the renewables industry.

Nearly 200 countries agreed in December 2015 to “adopt green energy sources, cut down on climate change emissions and limit the rise of global temperatures” as part of the pact, NPR reported. The emissions reductions are set to begin in 2020.

The U.S. joins Nicaragua and Syria as the only countries not participating in the agreement.

See Peduto’s complete statement on Trump’s decision below:

“President Trump’s decision is disastrous for our planet, for cities such as Pittsburgh, to the commitments the United States made to the rest of the world, and to our responsibility to save the globe for future generations.

The President has made America weaker, and the world less safe.

I’m appalled that the President used my city to justify his unacceptable decision, as most other Pittsburghers are. I was one of the nation’s mayors who went to Paris to fight for the accords, and my city, which has finally bounced back from decades of industrial carnage, will do all it can to promote its own environmental standards.

I know cities around the nation and the world will do the same. This is not over.

In Pittsburgh, we’ve rebuilt our economy on the future and our people, not on the past.

We are improving the efficiency of buildings; using smart infrastructure to reduce emissions; supporting new mobility solutions like bike share, bus rapid transit, and shared rides to reduce our reliance on personal automobiles; and has world class innovation happening by the likes of the University of Pittsburgh, Carnegie Mellon University and many industry partners.

Pittsburgh is the example of why the Paris agreement is good for economic development: such work is good for business too. Thirteen thousand Pittsburghers are employed in the renewable energy industry, and sixty-six thousand across Pennsylvania, and renewable jobs are the largest employer in the energy industry.

Further, Pittsburgh and other cities know that fighting climate change will not only save our planet, but save lives. Pittsburgh has been engaged in resilience planning since 2015 and climate change and extreme weather were identified as the number one shock facing us.

Fighting for the Paris accords is my duty, and that of mayors across the United States, who are standing together in defiance of President Trump’s reckless decision. If you are a mayor and not addressing shifts in changing weather patterns or preparing for the impacts of climate change you aren’t doing your job. What is our job is preparing our cities for the future, and building opportunities and productive and safe lives for those we serve.”

This story was updated to include Peduto’s June 1 statement and to clarify Trump’s Pittsburgh appearances during his presidential campaign.