New Hampshire Gov. Sununu Rejects Climate Alliance

Published July 14, 2017

New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu (R) rejected calls to have the state join the nascent U.S. Climate Alliance, a group formed after President Donald Trump withdrew the United States from the Paris climate agreement on June 1.

Currently consisting of 12 states and Puerto Rico, members of the Climate Alliance have pledged to uphold the Paris climate agreement by reducing greenhouse-gas emissions in their states 26–28 percent below 2005 levels.

In a statement to the Concord Monitor, Sununu said New Hampshire would not be joining the Climate Alliance.

“We do not yet know its impact on our economy and environment,” Sununu said.

Sununu had indicated his possible opposition to joining the agreement in a June 2 interview with New Hampshire Public Radio.

In response to Trump withdrawing from the Paris climate agreement Sununu told the interviewer, “You know, it’s not my job to go through the whole accord. … The president has done that, his team has done that, and they’ve made the decision they feel is in the best interest of the United States, and I stand by that.”

This is not the first time Sununu bucked the dominant trend in states in the Northeast on climate policies. Before Sununu became governor, New Hampshire joined the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, a regional pact composed of nine states along the East Coast requiring fossil fuel-burning power plants to buy allowances for every ton of carbon dioxide they emit. Sununu has said he wants to pull New Hampshire out of the agreement.

Sununu made clear his rejection of the Climate Alliance was not a matter of being anti-environment. His statement said the state government would continue to prioritize cleaning up groundwater, and he has said he personally remains committed to New Hampshire’s “long and proud tradition of responsible environmental stewardship.”

Praise for Governor’s Decision

New Hampshire state Sen. Andy Sanborn (R-Bedford) says he supports Sununu’s decision because meeting the commitments of the Paris agreement would be bad for the United States.

“The Paris climate change agreement was a bad deal for the United States, prioritizing other countries like China and India over the United States,” said Sanborn. “Just like Gov. Sununu, I am always in favor of protecting our environment, but we have to make sure the United States operates under the same rules and regulations as everyone else.

“Joining the Climate Alliance would raise energy prices in New Hampshire, making our businesses less competitive than those in other states and countries,” Sanborn said.

Edward Hudgins, research director at The Heartland Institute, which publishes Environment & Climate News, says Sununu made the right decision to reject the Climate Alliance.

“New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu has rightly decided against joining the U.S. Climate Alliance,” said Hudgins. “The governors of 12 other states and Puerto Rico have vowed to uphold in their own states the terms of the Paris climate accord despite President Trump’s decision to pull out. As a result, they will have to implement draconian statewide regulations that will hamper job creation and add costs to consumers for no environmental benefit.”

H. Sterling Burnett, Ph.D. ([email protected]) is a research fellow at The Heartland Institute.