Mayor Benjamin joins pledge to uphold Climate Agreement despite U.S. withdrawal

Mayor Benjamin joins pledge to uphold Climate Agreement despite U.S. withdrawal

COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - Columbia Mayor Steve Benjamin has joined the mayors of 84 other major U.S. cities to say he will uphold the standards put forth in the Paris Climate Agreement that President Donald Trump withdrew the U.S. from on Thursday.

The group, calling themselves "Climate Mayors," posted an open letter on Medium on Thursday as Trump made the Rose Garden Announcement.

"The President's denial of global warming is getting a cold reception from America's cities," the letter reads.

The letter goes on to criticize the Trump Administration's move to remove the U.S. from the Paris Agreement and says they'll do whatever is necessary to uphold the tenants of the agreement despite the withdrawal.

"We will continue to lead," the letter said. "We are increasing investments in renewable energy and energy efficiency. We will buy and create more demand for electric cars and trucks. We will increase our efforts to cut greenhouse gas emissions, create a clean energy economy, and stand for environmental justice. And if the President wants to break the promises made to our allies enshrined in the historic Paris Agreement, we'll build and strengthen relationships around the world to protect the planet from devastating climate risks."

Joined by 195 countries, the 2015 agreement stipulates guidelines for nations to limit dependency on carbon fuel, to lower emissions of greenhouse gases that contribute to global warming, to encourage technological and biological means of controlling carbon emissions, and to explore alternative, sustainable energy sources.

Benjamin is the only South Carolina mayor to sign the letter.

Mayor Benjamin released a statement Friday afternoon, saying:

Dozens of our country's cities have already united to implement measures that combat climate change, so the President's decision to withdraw from the Paris agreement is not representative of our nation's leaders and their communities," said Mayor Benjamin. "As Mayors, we commit to protecting the planet that we will leave to the next generations, finding innovative solutions for renewable energy and working so that our communities are kept free of hazardous emissions.

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