(AP) — President Trump was a popular target Friday at California Gov. Jerry Brown’s climate change summit in San Francisco.
Two prominent Democrats and a Republican mayor criticized Trump for his decision to withdraw the United States from the landmark Paris climate accord.
“While Donald Trump may have pulled out of the climate agreement, the American people have not,” former Secretary of State John Kerry said opening the second day of the Global Climate Action Summit.
Kerry, a Democrat like Brown, called Trump’s decision “the single greatest act of irresponsibility of any president of the United States at any time.”
Trump announced in June 2017 the United States’ intention to pull out of the international agreement, which Kerry signed while serving as President Barack Obama’s secretary of state. The 195 countries that signed the treaty agreed to commit resources to combating climate change.
Trump said the agreement was unfair to the United States and would hurt the economy. He said the coal industry would be hardest hit. He said he was willing to negotiate a new climate change agreement.
Kerry’s criticism of Trump came a day after the president blasted Kerry on Twitter for meeting with high-level members of the Iranian government.
Kerry disclosed recently that since leaving office he has met with the Iranian officials.
Kerry said he’s confident Trump’s decision will ultimately be reversed because he believes most Americans support the agreement.
Former Vice President Al Gore followed Kerry to the stage and got a rousing ovation when he said a new president can rejoin the Paris Agreement.
Gore, a Democrat, also criticized Trump’s recent denial that 3,000 people died in Puerto Rico in 2017 because of Hurricane Maria.
Gore said it’s difficult to deny that climate change is causing more severe weather but that “It’s a little harder to deny the 3000 deaths from the hurricane in Puerto Rico.”
Gore said an increasing number of people are embracing the need to combat climate change.
“Cities, states, investors, and businesses are all in,” Gore said. “Some are still denying, but political will is a renewable resource.”
“Positive environmental change is happening. Cities, states, investors, and businesses are all in. Some are still denying… but political will is a renewable resource.”
James Brainard, Republican mayor of Carmel, Indiana, listed a number of Republican presidents and their environmental accomplishments, including President Nixon’s creation of the Environmental Protection Agency. He said he was disappointed Trump pulled out of the Paris Agreement.
“The president likes to talk about what a great country we are,” Brainard said. “Great countries honor their international agreements. Great countries show leadership to the rest of the world on critical issues. Great countries listen to their scientists and great countries strive to leave the world better than they found it.”
The goal of the climate summit is to showcase actions being taken and to deepen commitments to combat climate change. It was unclear what specific actions might be taken before the summit ends Friday.