The largest tribal govenrment in Alaska is sticking by the Paris Climate Change Accord.
Central Council of the Tlingit and Haida Indian Tribes of Alaska said it will continue to support the agreement, which aims to reduce the world’s carbon emissions and slow climate change.
Earlier this month, President Donald Trump announced that the U.S. would be pulling out of the accord, joining countries like Nicaragua and Syria.
Central Council President Richard Peterson said that surprised him.
“You know, he’s a businessman, and I think that it’s proven that right now, alternative energies is good business,” Peterson said.
Peterson said Central Council will try to do its part by working on renewable energy solutions. He said Alaska is already experiencing the effects of a warming planet. Villages are crumbling into the ocean.
“For us it comes down to the fact that as Alaska Natives, as the first people, we have a responsibility as caretakers,” Peterson said. “We’re responsible for these lands. And more importantly, we’re responsible for what we pass down to future generations.”
The Standing Rock Sioux Tribe in North Dakota is also supporting the Paris Accord. In Washington, the Quinault Indian Nation and Swinomish Indian Tribal Community have made a similar pledge.
Gov. Bill Walker has acknowledged the effects of climate change in the state but didn’t condemn President Trump’s decision.
Correction: This story has been updated to reflect that the Central Council of the Tlingit and Haida Indian Tribes of Alaska is the largest tribal government in Alaska, not the largest tribe.