On his first day in office, President Joe Biden signed 17 executive orders that focused on reversing Trump administration policies — including a letter that states the country’s intent to re-join the Paris Climate Agreement.
In 2019, President Trump notified the United Nations that the U.S. would be withdrawing from the accords, removing the country from a list of nearly 200 others vowing to reduce planet warming emissions.
On Nov. 4 — the day after Election Day — the U.S. formally withdrew from the agreement, and will officially rejoin less than four months later. While Biden has received widespread support for his immediate decision, Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, has voiced his disagreement — and brought Pittsburgh into it.
The day of Biden’s inauguration, Cruz tweeted that Biden’s decision to rejoin the accords “indicates he’s more interested in the views of the citizens of Paris than in the jobs of the citizens of Pittsburgh.” A day later, he shared an image of a free bumper sticker with the words “Pittsburgh > Paris” — in Pittsburgh’s famous black and gold colors.
It seems like Cruz’s new campaign strategy is to replace facts with something much more spicy: hypocrisy. While Cruz might not realize that the Paris Climate Agreement has nothing to do with Paris — besides being the location the accords were signed in — he must also be forgetting the vote he cast a few weeks ago disputing the election results in Pennsylvania.
Cruz’s intent to disrupt one of the core processes of democracy contradicts whatever loyalty he claims to Pittsburgh and strips him of any responsibility he may think he has to “stand up” for it. That vote he cast in the Senate chamber is a slap in the face to Yinzers who made the decision to participate in the electoral process and vote in November.
Moreover, Cruz has no factual basis to his assumption that Pittsburgh will suffer when the U.S. rejoins the agreement. As Mayor Bill Peduto stated in a response to Cruz, “there are more jobs in the renewable/green industry in Allegheny County (Pittsburgh) than oil, gas & coal industries combined.” Peduto has since reaffirmed his pledge to follow the commitments of the agreement and reduce the city’s emissions.
Cruz has no reason to imply that rejoining the Paris Climate Agreement will take away American jobs and harm Pittsburgh’s blue collar workers. Sustainable industries offer no less economic resources to Americans than the fossil fuel industry, and provide jobs that preserve Earth’s quickly depleting natural resources.
The residents of Pittsburgh and Paris — and all the cities of the almost 200 countries that signed the agreement — breathe Earth’s air and drink Earth’s water. A threat to global climate is a threat to everyone’s climate, and by committing to the promises outlined in the Paris Climate Agreement, the U.S. joins the pledge for a better future for both Pittsburgh and Paris.