Rep. Alan Lowenthal, D-Long Beach, blasted President Donald Trump’s announcement Thursday to exit the Paris Accord treaty to reduce greenhouse gases as a “short-sighted and infantile move.”
Trump’s decision to not participate in the agreement which seeks to reduce pollution causing climate change “has now set the U.S. against the world,” Lowenthal said.
“We are now the outsiders,” he said. “We are now isolated. And while I am sure President Trump would have it no other way, his cowardly decision to leave the Paris Agreement does nothing to help anyone.”
Lowenthal also characterized it as an “abdication of leadership.”
The Democrat also argued that it will be “one of the defining moments” of the Trump administration.
“They will have to prove that they are right — which I don’t think they are,” Lowenthal said.
The congressman said he will “continue to fight to protect our environment.”
Charlie Zender, a UC Irvine professor of Earth system science, said the decision means the U.S. will no longer provide money to Third World countries who cannot afford to reduce greenhouse gases causing climate change.
“It’s pretty hard to see any silver lining here,” Zender said. “Our country has promised in the Paris Accord to reduce its emissions by 28 percent relative to 2005 levels and now that we’re not President Trump has reneged on that commitment and it’s unclear whether we can renegotiate something with other countries that’s even partially as strong. And will they trust our good faith anymore? So, I think we’ve lost some of our leadership capability in this area permanently.”
The U.S. overall has been the top polluter in terms of global warming, and ranks second behind China now.
Efforts to try to reduce carbon emissions in California will help but the state contributes about one percent of that pollution causing climate change, Zender said.
Zender dismissed arguments that the Paris Accord would kill jobs because it will stimulate employment in clean energy industries instead of the fossil fuel industries.
Jobs in the coal industry are disappearing due to automation, “And those jobs will not be coming back because it’s economically advantageous to shift to clean energy fuel.”
Glaciers in Greenland and Antarctica are melting at a rate that’s “unstoppable,” Zender said.
“These are unstablized sheets of ice in Greenland and Antarctica entering into the ocean — it’s too late to stop that,” Zender said.
That will lead to rising oceans that will more dramatically affect the East Coast along with the Gulf of Mexico, but King Tides along the California coast will also continue to worsen, Zender said.
About two-thirds of the state’s beaches will be wiped out by the end of the century if no progress is made on cutting greenhouse gases, Zender said.
Trump said Thursday that the agreement was bad for the U.S. economy.
“As someone who cares deeply about our environment, I cannot in good conscience support a deal which punishes the United States,” he said. The Paris Accord is very unfair at the highest level to the United States.”
In justifying his decision, Trump cited a National Economic Research Associates study, saying the agreement could cost the United States $3 trillion by 2040, reducing the industrial job-sector workforce by 6.5 million, including a loss of 3.1 million manufacturing jobs. He said it would also lead to a reduction in cement, iron, steel, coal, natural gas and petroleum production.
Trump said the deal gives other countries an unfair advantage” over the United States, and allows other polluting countries to continue its greenhouse gas emissions while the U.S. is forced to cut its own.
–City News Service
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