President Donald Trump last week decided to remove America from the Paris climate agreement. Trump framed his decision as “a reassertion of America’s sovereignty.” The U.S. could try to re-enter the deal under more favorable terms or work to establish “an entirely new transaction,” he said.
Supporters of the decision say the move would save U.S. jobs and billions in payments and unburden industry. Opponents say the move endangers the planet and threatens coastal areas. They also contend the nation will lose out on jobs that could be created in green technology and give an edge to China as a result.
Since Trump’s decision, some companies, including General Motors Corp. this week, have said they would move to cut emissions.
In addition, the governors of California, New York and Washington started the United States Climate Alliance. Nine additional states have joined the alliance, committing to meet the goals of the Paris climate agreement.
This week’s RBJ Snap Poll asked readers their views on Trump’s decision and the decision by Gov. Andrew Cuomo to commit New York to meeting the goals of the Paris climate agreement. The majority of respondents opposes Trump’s decision and an even bigger majority supports Cuomo’s effort.
The Paris accord dates to Dec. 12, 2015. Officials from 196 nations made the pact to adopt green energy sources, cut down on climate change
emissions and limit the rise of global temperatures. It took effect Nov. 4, 2016. The agreement aims to keep the planet from warming by more than 1.5 degrees Celsius above preindustrial levels.
More than 800 participated in this week’s poll, which was conducted June 6 and 7.
Do you agree or disagree with the United States’ decision to stay out of the Paris climate agreement?
Do you agree or disagree with Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s decision to commit New York to meeting the goals of the Paris climate agreement?
President Trump has a single-mindedness about his decisions, and they don’t reflect an informed, intelligent conformity. Going against science and his own daughter’s recommendation, he prefers to be seen as a maverick and one who relishes a Don Quixote persona.
—Tom Sargent, Rochester
I agree 100 percent that we should drop out for economic issues. Both Russia and China are members and don’t pay a dime and China is one of the worst climate offenders in the world. Everyone should pay their fair share. The U.S. is leading the way in curing many of the ills of our environment. Solar and wind and hydro in lieu of coal. An aircraft carrier can operate on nuclear power for 30 years until needing recharging. We recycle, we turn waste into methane, we’re way ahead and going strong.
—Daniel Mossien, architect
The Paris Climate agreement had no real teeth because Obama couldn’t get the Senate support as a treaty. This is a good thing. Under the agreement the U.S. still would have borne most of the negative economic consequences of all the participants. The U.S. should maximize our great wealth in gas, oil and coal reserves by reducing burdensome regulations. This would unleash the economy in a phenomenal way. At the same time continue to develop hydropower and nuclear because they are proven efficient energy sources. Solar and wind energy sources will fully develop in time. However, subsidies and tax credits should be removed from solar and wind energy sources because it’s a drain on our state and federal tax revenue. Their time will eventually come.
I am also in total disagreement with Mayor Lovely’s signing on to this ineffective Paris Agreement for the City of Rochester. It would be nice if the voters had a say in whether or not to jump in and support the agreement, but as usual the Democrats have made this PC decision based on their view that they know what is better for us without asking! I am wondering if she and the governor have made any plans to support the agreement with a financial contribution to the other countries who support it.
—Dave Coriale, Webster
The Paris climate agreement is based on sound science. As such, it is imperative that the United States implement and follow sound policies that protect the environment in which we live and work. To do otherwise is sheer folly and will result in significant harm to current and future generations. Given the importance of this issue we must stand together to protect our environment wherever that struggle takes us. God Bless America!
It will take a generation to recover from the Obama decisions. We might as well start now.
—Jerry McCabe, Irondequoit
We have one Earth. The air we all breathe must be protected. The water we all drink must be protected. This should be a “non-negotiable.” We should not be compromising the essence of life for a buck.
It’s a great win for our country now that 13 (and counting) states are cooperating to fight climate change with the Unites States Climate Alliance. Despite the reckless and ignorant actions of our president we now have an opportunity to show the world that, in the words of French president Macron, we will “make our planet great again.”
The Paris agreement is non-binding. We should have a seat at the table. I believe it’s foolish to let China take the lead without even putting up an argument!
This is one of the Obama capitulations that made absolutely no sense. America, you stop polluting the atmosphere now while the rest of the world agrees that at some time in the future it might also stop. Also, the economics work so badly against the U.S. and give a leg up to polluting countries.
In the same way that a smoking section in an airplane is now seen as futile and ridiculous, our country’s impact on climate can’t be separated from anyone else’s impact. The president’s insistence that removing the U.S. from the global efforts to combat the disastrous effect that carbon emissions have on the climate is somehow a “reassertion of America’s sovereignty” is simply absurd.
I don’t know whether I am living through a presidency or an Ozzy Osbourne/Black Sabbath tour. We’re going off the rails on a crazy train.
—Greg Reynolds, East Rochester
Science over dangerous populist politics.
—Sergio Ruffolo, JR Language Translation Services Inc.
The Paris agreement was as much about the economy as it was about the climate. The president has chosen to cling to the past on both topics. Sad.
—Wayne Donner, Rush
It’s hard to argue how collectively cutting emissions is a bad thing to do. But you have to wonder what’s fair about a deal that allows the world’s No. 1 and No. 3 emitters to increase their emissions while the USA (No. 2 emitter) makes significant cuts.
There is nothing binding in the Paris agreement that would require the United States to meet any of its commitments. That’s why it could be signed without ratification. The current rate of reduction of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions is on a steeper slope than President Obama set out as our commitment to the agreement. Another goal of the agreement is to redistribute wealth to the developing nations. Is this part of what the United States Climate Alliance is committing to? I believe the United States will continue to exceed the carbon mitigation of many parties to the agreement. This is just a lot of political hysteria that will have very little effect on the future of the planet.
Having lived through the hysteria of man-made global cooling in the 1970s, which proved to be totally false, I am totally unimpressed by the current hysteria of man-made global warming. Climate change is on the whole a natural cycle. Human influence is immeasurably insignificant. Ninety-four percent of scientists publish opinions which will lead them to their next government grant!
—Tom Shea, Thomas P. Shea Agency Inc.
Our participation in the Paris climate agreement was President Obama’s personal endeavor. It never was an agreement made by the United States of America. Therefore, we were never actually in it. Governor Cuomo needs to work on growing New York’s economy and lowering the tax burden of residents and property owners. This is an example of him representing himself for future ambitions rather than representing his constituents.
Putting the business interests of the United States over the health and welfare of the entire world is poor leadership. It’s not just poor for the world; it’s poor for the U.S. as well.
A staggeringly short-sighted decision. The Paris Agreement is a set of non-enforceable targets established by each signatory to help mitigate the effects of climate change. The agreement only encourages nations to share resources and technology to meet their targets. It’s an agreement that establishes economic cooperation between nations to help limit the damage of climate change and find new ways to combat it and create opportunities for economic growth in all sectors of the economy, primarily in energy. By pulling out of the framework, something which can’t go into effect until 2020, America is stepping out of a global leadership position and damaging our standing as a global technology leader. Ultimately, this decision will be reversed, but the damage to American leadership will be difficult to overcome.
The Paris accords was/is an attempt by some to advance toward one-world government and massive wealth transfer from the U.S. to others. This has to be avoided at any cost. If the U.S. had agreed to the Kyoto accords during the Bush era, Communist China would have protected poor-nation status (exemptions) today. The “Green Jobs” argument is nonsense, left over from Hillary’s campaign when she gave American working people the finger. Politics should stop at the water’s edge and the governors of the states mentioned are wrong to attempt to show up the president, no matter whether or not they agree with him. The administration stated that it will take steps to reduce CO2 levels, just not within the context of the Paris Agreement.
For goodness sake, “man-made” climate change is bogus—the most brilliant scientist that has ever lived would not be able to tell how much, if any, effect man has had on the climate. We can’t completely forecast the weather correctly yet people continue to fall for this progressive hoax. Al Gore just admitted last Sunday that virtually all his predictions were wrong. Why? Because he’s an opportunist and alarmist—in that order. The Paris agreement was a bunch of feel-good nothingness that addressed a problem that doesn’t exist. Those of us who see man-made climate change as a bogus concept and just another vehicle for wealth redistribution, in no way condone pollution. I’m a conservationist—NOT an environmentalist. I already have a religion.
—Steve Wichtowski, Honeoye
The Paris agreement had no legal standing in the U.S., as it was not ratified as a treaty in the Senate. That being said, the agreement was a massive wealth redistribution scheme, sucking money and jobs out of our country while enriching corrupt poor countries, where the money will never get to green or clean air efforts. We would give up sovereignty, while China and India, two of the biggest carbon dioxide producers would receive a 10-year pass. Some have estimated that the agreed reduction in temperature of 0.17 degrees would cost $26 trillion, and guess where most of that would come from? We have already reduced our carbon footprint by over 12 percent in the last 10 years. This was achieved through increased use of fracking/natural gas and solar and wind power. No other country has come close to our efforts. Komrade Kuomo of course has to jump on the bandwagon to please his constituency.
—Art Elting, Palmyra
Once again, the president continues to live up to the old axiom of “it is better to remain silent and let people think you are a fool than to speak and remove all doubt.” He would be better served to heed the advice from informed people with knowledge of scientific research rather than the misguided advice of his inner circle of friends.
“I agree with the decision to leave the Paris climate agreement! (We can’t stay out of something we we’re already in) But we can get out, at least until the Senate ratifies the agreement! As for the governor of never-never land, he remains committed to the economic destruction of our once great state and he won’t rest until all his cronies are jailed or the rest of us have left the state in disgust!
—Tom Zimmerman, Z2 Architecture PLLC
Cuomo is a blowhard politician running for the presidency. His audience stands and cheers when he offers up anything for free. The Paris accord is an agreement to accept money from the U.S. while India and China have 10 to 30 years to decide if they want to participate. China, for example, has plans to build another 350 or so coal-fired electric plants during their “free” period. The only thing missing from the deal is a 737 transport flying pallets of cash to these partners in the middle of the night. Is there anyone who has a memory of President Obama paying ransom money throughout the world while accomplishing as little as any U.S. leader has in the last 80 years?
FIrst of all, this is not the U.S.’s decision, it is Trump’s. Fifty-nine percent of Americans disagree with Trump. Abandoning our commitment to the Paris accord is merely a stunt to appease his deluded isolationist minions. Reality is, we are competing in a global economy. Relaxing automotive mileage and emission standards in the U.S. does not free U.S. automakers from needing to engineer and manufacture vehicles that meet the Paris targets because they must meet them in order to compete in the 100+ markets that do in fact support the Paris accord. And, please, coal mining. It is the past. The potential job and innovation market for solar, wind, and other less polluting power sources is immense. My father was a coal miner. It is a dirty, dangerous and difficult job. Ask me about his black lung disease. Pandering to the oil and coal industries may bring short-term gains, but in the long term, the U.S. will look like Beijing does today.
—Catherine Lewis, Perinton
Trump’s decision to leave the Paris Accord was more likely another step to disengage the U.S. from all global agreements, especially those entered into by Obama, rather than a sincere disagreement with the principles of the accord. Since he reads nothing longer than 140 characters, he knows nothing and therefore relies on the advice of his supreme adviser, Steve Bannon, who has vowed to destroy the state and the world order. At least sensible governors and business leaders appreciate the merits of the accord and can pursue its goals despite what our president does or says.
These “goals” are unenforceable, and nothing but an attempt by elitists to drain wealth from the U.S. and redistribute it to other countries. The Paris Accords are meaningless; the U.S. Senate would never ratify them. The cost to our economy would be enormous. Crooked Cuomo’s job in office seems to be to drive people and businesses out of the state as fast as possible.
Since there is no real data/proof regarding how much climate change is human caused, there is no reason to send billions of dollars to underdeveloped countries to help them with climate change effects. Remember that climate change predictions are just models. The models are based on carbon dioxide levels, which are a minor greenhouse gas. The major and overwhelming greenhouse gas (which no one talks about) is water vapor. Cuomo is positioning for running for president so he will do anything he can to grandstand against Trump. Not surprising that he is pushing to promote the Paris agreement. New York is already an expensive place to live. Why not make it more expensive by increasing electricity costs.
Your question is wrong! The verb isn’t “stay,” it’s “get.” “Stay out” implies we weren’t in it. but we WERE in it – Trump didn’t simply maintain a status quo. The decision will save some dirty-energy jobs in the near future, at the cost of investing in cleaner energy (and those jobs) for the future. And it will commit us to continuing to contribute to global climate change, and endangering our environment for generations to come. Of course, Trump doesn’t care, because he isn’t and won’t be affected personally. And the rapture-believers are delighted because they think this will hasten their joining their mythical god. Trump, the climate change deniers, and the businesses which keep us polluting are recklessly committing our world to a very scary future.