Social media erupted on Thursday in response to President Donald Trump’s announcement that the United States will withdraw from the Paris climate accord. President Barack Obama signed the agreement in December 2015, making the United States one of nearly 200 nations to commit a pact to enact policy to decrease greenhouse gas emissions and fight global warming.
In a statement made in the White House Rose Garden, Trump said, “We’re getting out, but we will start to negotiate and we’ll see if we can make a deal that’s fair. If we can, that’s great. If we can’t, that’s fine.”
This decision, which makes the U.S. one of only three countries to not participate in the agreement, provoked a significant, mostly negative reaction online.
Many, including Dan Rather, John Kerry, and Al Gore, found the news so distressing that they posted links to lengthier statements. Rather called it a “reckless and intemperate action.” Gore, the former vice president and climate change activist, wrote, “Removing the United States from the Paris Agreement is a reckless and indefensible action. It undermines America’s standing in the world and threatens to damage humanity’s ability to solve the climate crisis in time.”
Tesla CEO and tech pioneer Elon Musk formally declared his decision to leave the president’s council in the wake of the decision, writing, “Climate change is real. Leaving Paris is not good for America or the world.”
Celebrities ranging from Leonardo DiCaprio to Ava DuVernay to John Legend to Chelsea Handler to Michael Moore also expressed their frustration and dismay. DiCaprio said, “Today our planet suffered” and stressed the importance of action, while Handler joked, “I’m guessing that Donald Trump doesn’t see the irony in making his announcement to leave the Paris Agreement while standing in a garden.” DuVernay called the decision “shameful” and Michael Moore described it as a “crime against humanity.”
While many exclaimed horror at Trump and his decision, there was also a resounding call for American cities and businesses to remain committed to the principles of the agreement regardless of the announcement. President Obama slammed the decision, but espoused a message of hope, saying, “I’m confident that our states, cities, and businesses will step up and do even more to lead the way, and help protect for future generations the one planet we’ve got.”
In response to Trump reasoning, “I was elected by voters of Pittsburgh, not Paris,” Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto wrote, “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.”
Read a sampling of tweets below.