Courtesy of Tribune News Service

USC President Harris Pastides signs open letter admonishing Paris Agreement withdrawal

USC President Harris Pastides is one of many American university presidents and chancellors to sign an open letter affirming their commitment to the Paris climate accord.

Publicly released Monday, the online letter, titled “We Are Still In,” has already been signed by hundreds of city and county officials, states, private businesses and 183 heads of universities and colleges, including Pastides. In the body, signatories express to the international community that American "state, local, and business leaders" will supply "leadership" required to fulfill the United States' role in the Paris Agreement. 

“In the absence of leadership from Washington,” the letter reads, “states, cities, colleges and universities, businesses and investors, representing a sizeable percentage of the U.S. economy will pursue ambitious climate goals, working together to take forceful action and to ensure that the U.S. remains a global leader in reducing emissions.” 

Adopted by the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change in December 2015, the Paris Agreement set a goal of fighting climate change by keeping the increase in global average temperature below 2 degrees Celsius and lowering greenhouse gas emissions. At present, 195 countries have signed the agreement. 

President Donald Trump announced Thursday his administration’s intent to withdraw the United States from the agreement, stating, "I was elected by the citizens of Pittsburgh, not Paris.” 

Mayor William Peduto of Pittsburgh is among the city and county officials who signed the We Are Still In letter. 

As of Monday afternoon, USC is the only school in the SEC and one of two in South Carolina (Furman University, Greenville) to have its name on the letter. 

Mayors Steve Benjamin (Columbia) and John Tecklenburg (Charleston) were the only representatives of South Carolina cities to sign the letter. 

Read the entire letter at

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