Donald Trump’s decision to withdraw the United States from the Paris Agreement on climate change has no basis in fact. The science is clear: Climate change is happening because human activity—mainly the burning of fossil fuels—puts carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. Carbon dioxide is a greenhouse gas; it inhibits the radiation of heat received by Earth through the atmosphere and into space. There is now a decades-long history of interlocking, peer-reviewed scientific studies that document this reality, its human genesis, and the global threat it would pose, were it to go unaddressed.
All the same, the president’s decision—premised on economic assertions that major media outlets debunked almost immediately after they were spoken—is a reality. The United States will begin the years-long process of withdrawing from a global climate agreement, even though compliance with the pact is voluntary, and nothing in it would have compelled the Trump administration to take any environmental action it did not wish to take.
So how should people who (and organizations that) believe in facts and science respond? We asked science and policy experts for their thoughts on protecting the country and the planet’s future, when a US president is not. There are ways forward—if enough people act.