Trump bails on Paris Accord and outdoor industry reacts

Despite the objection of activists, business leaders, even his own family and party, Trump pulled out of the Paris Accord. And the outdoor industry is not happy about it.
Publish date:

In a move that sent shockwaves through political and environmental circles across the globe, President Trump announced his intention to withdraw the U.S. from the Paris Agreement on Thursday. The decision keeps with Trump’s campaign commitment to end U.S. participation in the pact, which his administration says hurts American energy workers and fails to hold other nations to acceptable standards for reducing carbon emissions.

This comes despite the objections of many climate activists, business leaders, and even members of Trump’s own family and party, who argue that the agreement represents the most significant political move towards curbing the damaging effects of climate change, and that the U.S.’s withdrawal may harm the country’s international leadership role and long-term economic outlook.

Signed by a coalition of 195 nations in 2016 (only Syria and Nicaragua remained outside the deal), the Paris Agreement was widely lauded as a landmark step in the effort to curb global carbon emissions.

The voluntary agreement called for all signatories to set “ambitious” aspirational emission targets, commit to making their best effort to meet them, and to provide periodic updates on their progress.

Negative reactions from the outdoor community came swiftly.

“We’re extremely concerned about the president’s decision,” said Amy Roberts, executive director of Outdoor Industry Association. “We believe that it’s critical to keep a seat at the table, to maintain our commitments to our international partners, and to enable an economy built on renewable energy to combat the serious impact of climate change.”

In his speech from the White House Rose Garden, Trump proclaimed his willingness to renegotiate the agreement to obtain more favorable terms for the U.S., an idea that was quickly shot down by a number of foreign leaders, including newly elected French President Emmanuel Macron, who condemned Trump’s decision as “error for the interests of his country, his people, and a mistake for the future of our planet.”

“It’s frustrating to see how partisan this has become, and the president’s decision today certainly seems like an overtly political move on an issue that doesn’t care which side of the aisle you’re on,” says Lindsay Bourgoine, the manager for advocacy and campaigns at Protect Our Winters. “People of all parties enjoy the outdoors, and people of all parties enjoy the quality of life they have, which is seriously threatened by climate change.”

The agreement’s future is now very much in flux following Trump’s decision. Opponents of withdrawal argue that the entire deal could break down in the absence of U.S. leadership, though there have been some encouraging early signs that this may not be the case after China and the EU reaffirmed their commitment to meeting their emissions targets in the hours following the president’s announcement.

Still, without any enforcement mechanism to ensure compliance, the agreement relies entirely on good faith and cooperation, and with its most important signatory now on the way out it remains to be seen whether others will follow suit.

The positive news for environmentalists is that the lengthy withdrawal process won’t conclude until November 2020, the same month Trump is up for reelection, ensuring that the issue will be hotly debated the next presidential campaign cycle.

“The onus is now squarely on cities, states, business leaders, including those in the outdoor industry, and private citizens to fill the void this administration has left,” Bourgoine said. “We can’t just sit back and say that the fight is over because the U.S. has pulled out of Paris. This issue is far too important for that.”


Black and white headshot of John Sterling in Protect Owyhee T-shirt

Trump's first 100 days, according to the outdoor industry

Six industry insiders weigh in on Trump's performance on public lands, climate change, outdoor recreation, and the economy. So is America great again yet? It may be early on, but the first 100 days in office have been an important benchmark for judging a president’s performance more


Jeremy Jones writes President Trump a personal note about Paris Agreement

Dear Mr. President, I have spent my life in the mountains. My life depends on being in tune with nature, weather and snow. In 2007, I started Protect Our Winters because I had become increasingly alarmed with the changing climate and shrinking of glaciers. I did not need more

Land and Water Conservation Fund

Trump's budget cuts promise to cause headaches for outdoor industry

The victims of budget cuts include the EPA, State Department, climate change work, Interior Department, Land and Water Conservation Fund, and more. If you’ve heard anything yet about President Donald Trump’s budget proposal, you’ve likely heard that it dramatically cuts the more

Trump Energy Independence order

Trump signs order to dismantle Obama's Clean Power Plan

Trump's "Energy Independence" order threatens the environment. President Donald Trump has signed an order intended to undo much of the work his predecessor did regarding climate change. The “Energy Independence” executive order directs the Environmental Protection Agency to more

fresh faces grid

Fresh faces of the outdoor industry

Meet the future of the outdoor industry. These four have a fierce determination to create a new path forward for the outdoors, and they're doing it with a degree of awareness and intersectionality we've never seen before. 1. Outdoor education Pinar Ates Sinopoulos-Lloyd, 30, more

These outdoor industry companies are 'still in' for Paris Agreement

When President Donald Trump announced last week that the United States would be withdrawing from the Paris Climate Agreement, the outdoor industry's response was swift and strong: We will not stand for this. This week, outdoor brands have been loud in their opposition to Trump's more


"A hypocritical move:" Trump signs executive order to review Antiquities Act as industry gathers on Capitol Hill

Capitol Hill is teeming with members of the outdoor industry fighting for public lands this week, yet steps away, President Trump orders Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke to review National Monuments. At the precise moment that 130 members of the outdoor industry were more


Trump expected to sign order seeking review of recent national monuments

Sen. Tim Kaine is outraged by Trump's move to dismantle national momuments: "The notion that these designations by presidents are wrong makes me furious." President Donald Trump is expected to sign an executive order today seeking a review of national monuments established in more


Industry Buzz: Kathmandu, Patagonia, Fjällräven, Arcade Belts, Melania Trump, and three rad youth outdoorsists

Keep up by reading Industry Buzz. Here are today's top headlines: Have a news tip? Email us at [email protected] Climate champions: Fjällräven on Monday joined the United Nations Fashion Industry Charter for Climate Action, which is aiming for a net-zero emissions economy in more