News Press Release

Statement From The NAACP On U.S. Withdrawal From The Paris Agreement

June 2, 2017

June 1, 2017 (Baltimore, Maryland) – The NAACP is deeply disappointed by the announcement today by President Donald J. Trump that the United States will withdraw from the Paris Agreement of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. Despite this disastrous step backwards for our nation, the NAACP resolves to not only do its part to adhere to the tenets of the Paris Agreement, but also to continue to fight for environmental justice.

“There’s no way around it – this decision by the Trump Administration is not only a rejection of the undeniable science that has proven climate change exists, but also will send our nation and our planet down a path that will only lead to catastrophic destruction. In these dark times, one thing is for certain: the United States may be out of the Paris Agreement, but the NAACP is going to be all in for equity and our environment, now more than ever before,” said Leon W. Russell, chairman of the Board of Directors.

“The NAACP asserts that anything less than a 100-percent commitment of adherence to the Paris Agreement is a flagrant and callous disregard of the urgent mandate to protect our people, and our planet,” said Jacqueline Patterson, director of the NAACP’s Environmental and Climate Justice Program. “Low-income African-American neighborhoods will be among the most affected by exiting the Paris Agreement. Increased carbon dioxide emissions can cause extreme and unprecedented weather conditions, which can potentially devastate communities as we saw during Hurricane Katrina. The United States is the world’s second-largest emitter of carbon dioxide emissions, only behind China. Our country should be showing model leadership and ending the politicization of climate change, rather than continuing to turn its back on African-Americans in the name of corporate greed and dependence on fossil fuels.”

“The NAACP has had a delegation at the United Nations Climate Talks since 2009 when our Environmental and Climate Justice Program was established, and we voted unanimously in support of the Paris Agreement resolution. Today, we pledge to remain active members of these talks, and to hold our country accountable in a forum of its national peers as the voice of the U.S. electorate,” Russell continued. “The NAACP also plans to increase and deepen our mitigation and adaptation work until every state and every one of our branches is engaging on stemming the tide of climate change, and preparing communities for the impacts that are already being felt.”

Across the nation, NAACP Branches and Chapters are already advancing the tenets of the Paris Agreement with a view towards even more ambitious aims than those espoused in the agreement, by ensuring that all climate mitigation and adaptation action is centered in equity and justice:

  • In Memphis, Tennessee; Indianapolis, Indiana; Gulfport, Mississippi; Omaha, Nebraska; Chicago, Illinois; and more, NAACP units have engaged in Coal Blooded Campaigns to stop the practices responsible for the largest emissions of carbon dioxide, the number one greenhouse gas that drives climate change.
  • From Georgia, to Michigan, to Alabama, to Missouri and beyond, the NAACP has been advocating for strong pollution standards such as the Mercury and Air Toxic Standards, Carbon Pollution Standards and more, to significantly reduce the pollution driving climate change.
  • In Maryland, Indiana, Illinois, Texas, Oklahoma, and more, the NAACP is advancing energy efficiency and clean energy policies as an alternative to fossil fuel based energy production.
  • In Anchorage and Fairbanks, Alaska as well as Saginaw, Michigan and Gary, Indiana, the NAACP is leading action on communities going solar.
  • On the adaptation side, in North Carolina, Florida, Mississippi, Alabama and beyond, the NAACP is working with Climate Central and NOAA to train communities and facilitate planning for the impact of sea level rise.
  • To address climate related shifts in agricultural yields, from Longview, Texas to Gulfport, Mississippi, the NAACP units have planted local gardens and from Anchorage, Alaska to Indianapolis, Indiana, the NAACP is partnering with schools and local community projects to support aquaponics, to grow food indoors.
  • Starting with the NAACP National MoA with FEMA, to the individual disaster plans in Alabama, Missouri, Florida, Mississippi and elsewhere, the NAACP is preparing communities to adapt to the increase in extreme weather events.


Founded in 1909, the NAACP is the nation’s oldest and largest nonpartisan civil rights organization. Its members throughout the United States and the world are the premier advocates for civil rights in their communities. You can read more about the NAACP’s work and our six “Game Changer” issue areas by visiting