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Midwest institutions rally behind Paris climate agreement


With polls showing most Americans opposing President Trump’s withdrawal from the landmark Paris climate agreement, leading Midwest institutions are embracing the national We Are Still In movement, reaffirming their commitment to combating global warming.

Almost six in 10 Americans oppose Trump’s decision, according to a new Washington Post-ABC News poll. A majority of those surveyed said Trump’s action will weaken US global leadership.

“President Trump’s decision to withdraw the United States from the Paris Climate Change Agreement is terrible for our state, nation, and world,” said Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton. “It will cause irreparable damage to our environment and our economy. It will withdraw the United States, the largest energy consumer in the world, from the collective efforts to reduce severe environmental damage before it is too late.” Dayton’s comments, along with those of other governors, were compiled by the Georgetown Climate Center, a leading resource for policymakers on climate issues.

The 2015 Paris agreement was signed by almost 200 nations. In the immediate wake of Trump’s June 1 announcement, governors, mayors and other state and local leaders began declaring their intentions to stand by the Paris accord. On June 5, the We Are Still In campaign was launched, with more than 1,200 states, cities, universities, businesses and other institutions confirming their commitment to fighting climate change.

“We cannot afford to ignore the consensus of 194 countries and the entire scientific community,” said Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel. “Reneging on the Paris Agreement is shortsighted and does not make climate change any less real. From reducing our energy use to expanding public transit, Chicago will not skirt our responsibility to act.”

A partial list of Midwest supporters of We Are Still In includes:

  • The mayors of Chicago, Cincinnati, and Milwaukee
  • The attorneys general of Illinois and Minnesota
  • Loyola University Chicago
  • Oberlin College, Oberlin, Ohio
  • Northwestern University, Evanston, Illinois
  • Aveda, Blaine, Minnesota
  • Herman Miller, Zeeland, Michigan
  • Invenergy, Chicago, Illinois
  • Johnson Controls, Glendale, Wisconsin
  • Kohler, Kohler, Wisconsin

The campaign’s news release and full list of signatories can be found at

"The clear majority of climate scientists believe human activity is contributing to global warming, and the Paris agreement represented an historic attempt by the world community to mitigate the damage before it is too late,” said Joyce Foundation President Ellen Alberding. “President Trump's decision to withdraw was extremely disappointing, but we are very encouraged by the immediate response in defense of the Paris goals from governors, mayors, civic and business leaders, and private citizens, in the Midwest and throughout the country. “Sensible climate solutions like investing in energy efficiency were saving money and creating jobs in our region before, and that is still true with or without US participation in the Paris agreement."

The Joyce Foundation’s Environment Program focuses on clean water and clean energy as cornerstones for the ongoing vitality of the Great Lakes region. The foundation invests in work to improve the health and resilience of the Great Lakes and expand investment in energy efficiency measures, supporting a regional vision to protect the environment and our shared natural resources for the future.