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Climate change fight endures

It is difficult to claim President Donald Trump’s decision last week to withdraw the United States from the Paris accord on climate change will necessarily have a negative long-term effect on the environment.

First, members of the agreement must wait three years before they are eligible to withdraw, which means Trump’s first term will be nearly over by the time the withdrawal takes place. If Trump doesn’t win a second term, the next president could rejoin the accord in as little as 30 days.

Trump also has said he is open to rejoining the accord if the United States can secure better terms, so it’s possible—maybe even likely—that the country’s actual absence from the accord will end up being very short.

Second, the accord was non-binding, meaning the U.S. doesn’t have to withdraw to avoid meeting its obligations—a pledge to cut its greenhouse gas emissions 26 to 28 percent below 2005 levels by 2025 and commit up to $3 billion in aid for poorer countries by 2020.

Some have argued it will be better for the accord in the long run if the United States withdraws than if we remain a member and simply ignore our obligations.

Still, the decision was yet another sign the Trump administration is dismissive of science and uninterested in America’s role as a leader on the global stage.

Fortunately, the reaction to Trump’s announcement has been encouraging. A clear majority of Americans disagrees with the decision to withdraw. More important, business leaders, companies and local and state governments have lined up to pledge that the United States will meet its obligations even without Trump’s approval.

If the U.S. is going to do its part to fight the real threat of climate change, Trump’s decision must be viewed not as permission to relax environmentally friendly practices but as a challenge to do more to protect the planet for future generations.

(c) 2017 Rochester Business Journal. To obtain permission to reprint this article, call 585-363-7269 or email madams@bridgetowermedia.com.

One comment

  1. It’s interesting to me, the hysteria regarding faux climate change. Especially if you live here (upstate NY) but anywhere for that matter. In my 50-some-odd-years of living here I have seen no discernible changes in weather. That is especially amazing in that we are in such a rare longitude/latitude strip that gets the four very distinct seasons. Something would have to tilt towards one seasonal type and away from another and stay that way. It hasn’t happened, even remotely. My whole life has seen varying summers, some cooler and a little wetter than wanted; others very hot and dry. My sophomore year in HS (during the so-called impending “new ice age is coming” scare), during the February break we had a week of mostly 80*+ weather. There were brush fires in CA and AZ back then as there are now; there were glaciers receding and expanding even as they are now.
    When I cruise at high altitude in a plane while travelling and look out, around, down, etc. I am amazed at the vast expanse and how truly insignificant we are. We humans think far too much of our own intellect and capabilities.
    To say that I am way past well-done regarding this phony “emergency” and the stupendous money grab that it is all about is an understatement. And the science worshipers are embarrassing. Science by definition is ever-changing as we learn more. Almost nothing in science that is believed today was status quo 30 years ago. Just check out the APA psychology “bible”. They reverse themselves every 10 years.
    You cannot make policy on today-vs-yesterday science when what we may be talking about might be an 100K years-from-now issue.
    Last thing– I had some local but still main and prominent meteorologists point me to a well-balanced web site that they are even worthy to publish in, if I recall. They respect it and the people that contribute to it highly. It is even handed from both sides of the argument but clearly the arguments with teeth and truth are against at least man-made CC. Check it out – http://www.icecap.us/

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