NEWARK, N.J. — New Jersey could join other states committed to the Paris accord on climate change if one of the leading Democrats running for governor wins this fall.
Soon after Republican President Donald Trump announced Thursday that the U.S. was withdrawing from the historic multi-national agreement, Democratic candidate for governor Phil Murphy said on Twitter that he would join with California, New York and Washington state to form a Climate Alliance committed to the objectives of the Paris agreement.
Democratic candidates for governor Jim Johnson and Assemblyman John Wisniewski also said they would follow the agreement if elected, and Democratic state Sen. Ray Lesniak said he’d like to push beyond what Paris required if he wins the Nov. 7 election.
The four are among 11 candidates in Tuesday party primaries who hope to succeed Republican Gov. Chris Christie, who is term-limited. Christie, a Trump supporter, said this week he wasn’t entirely familiar with the accord; he wasn’t in favor of it when he ran for president last year. The governor also withdrew New Jersey from a regional greenhouse gas initiative after he took office in 2010.
Meanwhile, the state’s largest city will remain committed to climate control, Newark Mayor Ras Baraka said Friday. Baraka, a Democrat, called Trump’s decision “insane” and said the city will “adopt, honor and uphold our commitment to climate control.”
Other New Jersey Democrats also attacked the president’s decision.
Speaking in Newark, U.S. Sen. Corey Booker said, “This is not about global warming for them simply. This is not about melting of ice caps to them simply. This is about the health of our children and the economic opportunity for our communities.”
U.S. Rep. Frank Pallone Jr. called it “the most dangerous, shortsighted and negligent decision of his presidency.”
The New Jersey Sierra Club said Trump’s decision has put the state’s shoreline at risk.
“New Jersey suffers from sea level rise and climate impacts more than most states. Another (Superstorm) Sandy event is seventeen times more likely to happen again,” the organization’s director, Jeff Tittel, said in a statement.
Trump said his decision to pull out of the pact was in the best interest of the country. He said the U.S. may try to re-enter the international climate agreement if the deal were more favorable to Americans.