More than a dozen state prosecutors urged President Donald Trump in a letter on Tuesday not to withdraw from the Paris Climate Agreement, which commits the United States, along with 200 other countries, to reducing its greenhouse gas emissions in an attempt to slow global warming.
With the letter, attorneys general from 12 states as well as the District of Columbia and American Samoa have joined a chorus of voices, including major fossil fuel energy companies as well as environmental advocates, condemning the idea of exiting the agreement, which the Republican president has criticized in the past.
"Climate change, if left unchecked, will lead to global environmental dislocation and disaster on a scale we likely cannot imagine," the prosecutors wrote, urging the president to "maintain and reconfirm the United States' commitment to this groundbreaking agreement."
The Paris accord, reached by nearly 200 countries in 2015, seeks to limit global warming by slashing carbon dioxide and other emissions from burning fossil fuels. As part of the deal, the United States committed to reducing its emissions by between 26 percent and 28 percent below 2005 levels by 2025.
In an April 14 appearance on television show "Fox & Friends," Scott Pruitt, a former attorney general for Oklahoma whom Trump appointed to head the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, called for an "exit" from the Paris Accord while Energy Secretary Rick Perry, speaking at the Bloomberg New Energy Finance conference in New York on Tuesday, said Washington should "renegotiate it."
Pruitt and Perry were among the administration officials scheduled to meet last week to discuss the U.S. position on the accord, but the meeting was canceled.
Sources told Reuters on April 5 a group of coal producers told White House officials that remaining in the global deal to combat climate change would give U.S. negotiators a chance to advocate for coal in the future of the global energy mix.
Tuesday's letter was signed by top prosecutors from Connecticut, Delaware, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Rhode Island and Vermont.
(Reporting by Emily Flitter; Additional reporting by Valerie Volcovici; Editing by Sandra Maler)