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Academics, Environmentalists Blast Trump Climate Withdrawal

President Donald Trump insists the Paris Climate Agreement will hurt the U.S. economy. (whiteHouse.gov)
President Donald Trump insists the Paris Climate Agreement will hurt the U.S. economy. (whiteHouse.gov)
June 2, 2017

NEW YORK – President Donald Trump's announcement that he will withdraw the United States from the Paris Climate Agreement has drawn sharp criticism from scientists and environmentalists.

The announcement wasn't a surprise. Trump frequently derided the agreement as a "job killer" during his presidential campaign.

But Fred Koval, president of United University Professions, calls the decision a denial of scientific facts that endangers the planet, puts the interests of polluters over the health and well-being of the American people, and weakens the United States in the eyes of the world.

"It is remarkably shortsighted on environmental grounds, on economic grounds, on international diplomatic grounds," he says. "It's just a remarkable step for the President to take."

He notes that withdrawal from the Paris Agreement could take four years to complete, potentially making it an issue in the 2020 presidential election.

Meanwhile, New York State has set its own ambitious agenda to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

And according to Mark Dunlea, chair of the Green Education and Legal Fund, policies set by economically-powerful states like New York can have a nationwide impact.

"If California and New York, for instance, say, 'We will require certain emission standards for cars,' then the car manufacturers all build to those standards, because they can't afford not to be able to sell into the New York market," he explains.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo has signed an executive order committing New York State to upholding the standards of the Paris Accord.

Koval points out that the majority of Americans accept the facts of climate change, and says the nation's scientists and educators will play leadership roles in shaping the future.

"We are doing the research and the training for the green-energy jobs to come, and they're going to be global jobs," he adds. "And it's going to be a global, green-energy economy."

Andrea Sears, Public News Service - NY