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Selectboard endorses Paris Climate Agreement

GUILFORD—On the evening of June 12, in a small meeting room in a tiny town office building in Guilford Center, five Selectboard members declared the town will uphold the Paris Climate Accord, the international agreement to reduce carbon emissions.

Although Board Chair Sheila Morse said she “imagines it’ll have zero-to-no impact,” she characterized Gabrielle Ciufredda’s idea to sign the petition endorsing the agreement as “brilliant."

Their colleagues unanimously agreed, and Guilford became the third Vermont municipality to officially sign the petition at the website “We Are Still In.” (wearestillin.com).

Morse noted “the positive step” is “in line with the ‘energy’ section of our Town Plan.”

In early June, President Donald J. Trump declared the U.S. would withdraw from the Paris Climate Agreement.

The commitment, which 195 world leaders signed in December, 2015 — including then-President Barack Obama — was the first worldwide statement about fighting climate change. It is voluntary and includes no enforcement mechanism.

Days after the president’s announcement, former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg began the “We Are Still In” effort, which started with a letter to United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres and Executive Secretary Patricia Espinosa and included establishing the website.

“In the absence of a supportive federal coordinating role, [city, state, business, and civil society] actors will more closely coordinate their own decarbonization actions. Collectively, they will redouble their efforts to ensure that the U.S. achieves the carbon emissions reductions it pledged under the Paris Agreement,” Bloomberg wrote in the letter.

As of late June, just over 1,200 governors, mayors, college and university leaders, business leaders, and investors signed on to “We Are Still In,” declaring their intent to “continue to ensure the U.S. remains a leader in reducing carbon emissions,” the petition says.

Here in Vermont, Governor Phil Scott and Burlington Mayor Miro Weinberger announced on June 20 the Vermont Climate Pledge Coalition, which, similarly, will collect voluntary pledges from municipalities, schools, and businesses to reduce their carbon footprint.

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Originally published in The Commons issue #415 (Wednesday, July 5, 2017). This story appeared on page 0.

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