Now that the president has made the irresponsible decision to withdraw from the Paris Climate Agreement, we must look to the rest of the international community to meet its commitments to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

China has already demonstrated by its actions a willingness to fill the void left by the United States and lead the world in combating this monumental threat to the planet. It’s ironic that after being accused of creating the climate change “hoax,” China is now a leader in confronting this very real danger.

If we have the good fortune to rejoin the global community in 2020, it will be in a diminished role. But in the meantime, we can show that Americans are determined to do our part.

We can take action to try and prevent the federal government from dismantling policies and programs initiated by previous administrations that would reduce our carbon footprint.

Historically, positive change in America has come about not because of edicts from our elected leaders but by the relentless efforts of motivated people determined to make things right. We must look upon the president’s ill-informed action as an opportunity, not a setback.

States, localities, and many in the business community are stepping up to the challenge. Several states have formed a climate alliance to “live by Paris” and continue the critical work of the agreement.

Many large companies have restated their commitment to reducing our reliance on fossil fuels. These initiatives must sustain us until we once again have an enlightened administration.

There is an urgent need to slow global warming. Time is not on our side.

Richard Wildermann

Privateer Creek Road

Seabrook Island