For Consumers

Kreidler statement: U.S. leaving Paris Accord is short-sighted, carries steep cost

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June 1, 2017

Washington State Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler chairs the National Association of Insurance Commissioners’ (NAIC) Climate Change and Global Warming Working Group. He signed the Paris Accord in 2015 and his office is a supporting institution for the United Nations Environmental Programme’s Principles for Sustainable Insurance (PSI) Initiative, the largest collaboration between the UN and the insurance industry. Read more about Kreidler’s work with climate change and insurance.

OLYMPIA, Wash. – President Donald Trump today announced his short-sighted decision to pull the United States from the Paris Accord, an international treaty to combat climate change by keeping global temperature increases to less than 2 degrees Celsius.

The United States is the largest country to not participate in the accord – joining Nicaragua and Syria as holdouts.

The president made his decision despite the urging of corporate America, state and local governments, the G7 nations and even his own Secretary of State to remain steadfast in the commitment to keep global warning to less than 2 degrees Celsius.

While President Trump made campaign promises to restore the coal industry, the industry itself is giving up on dirty energy. Coal companies are turning to natural gas, solar and other forms of renewable energy generation as a viable way to return to profitability.

Carbon emissions are not the wave of the future, environmentally or in terms of economic development. The president is willfully turning his back on progress.

I join other leaders around the nation in remaining steadfast in my commitment to combatting climate change. I will continue to require insurers that do business in Washington to report their climate risk annually. That survey, which has been evaluated by Ceres in the past, gives insurance regulators an idea of how prepared insurers are for the risks posed by climate change.

Are they at risk of their assets being stranded in coal investments? Do they have enough money in their financial reserves to pay higher and more frequent health, life and property claims due to climate-related events? Are they prepared for continuity of operations in the event of a catastrophic event?

Abandoning our nation’s dedication to preserving our environment is, like so many decisions by this administration and Republican leaders, short-sighted and will harm millions of Americans. Trump’s efforts to undermine our environment carry a steep price that will be paid for generations to come.

I will continue to do everything in my power to uphold the goals of the Paris Accord and to protect consumers who rely on insurers to cover catastrophes.