When President Donald Trump announced Thursday that the United States would withdraw from the Paris climate agreement, a pact among nearly 200 countries to combat global warming, local environmentists rushed to plan an impromptu protest decrying the decision.
“You do not make America great by doing what this president just did,” said Caroline Lewis, who is with the CLEO (Climate Leadership Engagement Opportunities) Institute. “This is when public servants serve the public. Stand up; fight back.”
Lewis was among two dozen people — including members of the Sierra Club — who gathered Thursday evening in Museum Park, at Biscayne Boulevard and Northeast 11th Avenue, to express outrage and urge local and state leaders to step up in his stead.
Jon Ullman of the Sierra Club singled out Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez, asking him to “start stepping up” given Miami's vulnerability to climate change and rising seas.
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Several other protestors also noted the impact of climate change to South Florida.
“How long do you think it's going to be before we have water on Biscayne Boulevard?” asked Bob Mandela, treasurer for the climate change organization, 350 South Florida.
But at least one protestor suggested that efforts should be better spent confronting local leaders directly than standing on the street corner.
“We need to be at the mayor's house, not at the science museum,” said Michael Clarkson, 69.
After several minutes of chanting “What do we want? Climate justice! When do we want it? Now!” and “Trump! Escucha! Estamos en la lucha!” the protestors marched down Biscayne Boulevard where passing drivers occasionally honked in support.
On Thursday, Trump made good on his campaign promise to pull out of the Paris climate change agreement, a 2015 global pact to combat global warming signed by 195 nations. The United States, which is history’s biggest carbon polluter, will join Nicaragua and Syria as the only countries in the world that are not a part of the Paris agreement.
Trump, in his Rose Garden address, said he wanted better terms for the United States and “will start to negotiate.’’
But within minutes of Trump’s speech, the leaders of France, Germany and Italy issued a joint statement saying the Paris climate agreement was “irreversible” and could not be renegotiated.