Minutes after President Donald Trump made his expected announcement that the U.S. would be pulling out of the Paris Climate Accords — a promise he can’t actually make good on until 2020 — brands started to make their displeasure known.
On Thursday, Trump said in an announcement from the White House’s Rose Garden: “The Paris Climate Accord is simply the latest example of Washington entering into an agreement that disadvantages the United States to the exclusive benefit of other countries, leaving American workers—who I love—and taxpayers to absorb the cost in terms of lost jobs, lower wages, shuttered factories, and vastly diminished economic production. Thus, as of today, the United States will cease all implementation of the non-binding Paris Accord and the draconian financial and economic burdens the agreement imposes on our country.”
According to Trump, the accord agreed to by the Obama administration and every other country in the world except Nicaragua—which felt the accord did not go far enough—and Syria, would cost as many as 2.7 million lost jobs by the year 2025. Certain provisions of the accord prohibit the U.S. from actually departing the accord until 2020, after the next presidential election.
In response to the announcement, Weather.com immediately filled its home page with climate-change related stories. The site’s top story, which remained true as of Friday afternoon, listed the 10 governors and 86 mayors who are declining to comply with the decision.
“As 86 Mayors representing 40 million Americans, we will adopt, honor, and uphold the commitments to the goals enshrined in the Paris Agreement. We will intensify efforts to meet each of our cities’ current climate goals, push for new action to meet the 1.5 degrees Celsius target, and work together to create a 21st century clean energy economy,” the group, which has named itself the Climate Mayors, said in a collective statement.
Similarly, National Geographic replaced all the top stories on its website with ones about climate change.
After Trump made his announcement from the Rose Garden, the National Geographic Society and National Geographic Partners released a joint statement:
“We are disappointed that the U.S. administration has withdrawn from the 2015 Paris Agreement, the landmark climate change accord that committed the United States and nearly all nations of the world to take actions to protect and care for our planet. National Geographic has historically witnessed and documented the impacts of changing weather patterns on people and wildlife. Through scientific discovery and exploration, we have supported those findings and been a leader in educating the public about these profound changes.”
The channel also said Friday that it was re-releasing its climate change feature documentary, Before the Flood, produced and directed by Fisher Stevens and Leonardo DiCaprio. The film originally appeared last October on National Geographic in 171 countries and in 45 languages as well as on streaming and digital services. The initial airing reached more than 60 million people worldwide with some 1 billion minutes viewed.
Starting Friday, June 2 through Friday, June 9, Before the Flood will be available to watch for free across Nat Geo’s digital and TV Everywhere platforms. This includes the channel’s website as well its apps on iOS, Android, Apple TV, Roku and Samsung Connected TVs.
“This story is now more relevant than ever, and as part of our network’s ongoing commitment to engaging audiences in important global discussions, we are pleased to again release this powerful and important film for the world to see,” said Chris Albert, executive vice president, global communications for National Geographic Global Networks, in a statement. “By re-releasing Before the Flood across our platforms, we hope to continue to educate the world about the facts surrounding climate change, and provide them with the resources and knowledge to preserve our planet, just as National Geographic has done for 129 years.”
On Thursday, June 8, Before the Flood will be recognized along with five other programs at the Television Academy Honors for creating awareness, enlightening, educating and/or positively motivating audiences.
Over the past year, Nat Geo also has aired other climate-focused programming, including season two of Years of Living Dangerously from executive producers David Gelber, Joel Bach, James Cameron and Arnold Schwarzenegger.
On Thursday, Schwarzenegger released a video directly addressing the president’s announcement:
Nat Geo also has broadcast such documentaries as Water & Power: A California Heist and companion limited series, ,, executive produced by Alex Gibney and Jigsaw Productions.
Upcoming is new feature documentary, From the Ashes, from National Geographic Films and produced by RadicalMedia in partnership with Bloomberg Philanthropies. The film, which opens in select theaters in New York and Los Angeles on Friday, portrays communities in coal country and how they are struggling with the country’s move away from coal as a primary energy source. The film will premiere on National Geographic Channel on Sunday, June 25 at 9/8 c.
The network also is gearing up to premiere what’s calling its “greatest-ever natural event,” Earth Live, which will feature “unprecedented live wildlife programming across National Geographic, Nat Geo Wild and Nat Geo Mundo on July 9 at 8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT. The live event will be hosted by Amazing Race’s Phil Keoghan and actress Jane Lynch.
While many expressed outrage over Trump’s decision, others found hope in how people are reacting to it.
“President Trump’s decision to leave the Paris Climate Agreement was historic in that it will rally politicians, business leaders, citizens and civic organizations on an unprecedented level to assume responsibility and to take action for the climate responsibility that this planet so deserves,” said Simon Mainwaring, president of Venice, Calif.-based We First Branding. “This is not a national issue. It is a global issue that will affect the lives of millions, if not billions, of people around the world. Our only response to this decision is to galvanize of a global movement for the survival, sustainability and prosperity of every person on our planet.”
Read more about brands taking a stand in the June 2017 issue of Best of Brief.