President Trump is expected to announce that the U.S. is withdrawing from the Paris climate accords, a global pact designed to fight climate change. Two experts at the Atkinson Center for a Sustainable Future at Cornell University say that withdrawing from the accords would be a major mistake, both environmentally and economically.
David M. Lodge: The Trump administration can change the laws of the land, but not the laws of nature
Lodge is a professor of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology and director of the Atkinson Center for a Sustainable Future at Cornell.
“The Trump administration can change the rules and laws of the land, but it cannot change the laws of nature. While there can be reasonable debate about how, when and where to reduce carbon pollution, policies that deny realities of chemistry, physics and the environment – as such a decision would – doom U.S. taxpayers to a future of more costly responses to rising sea levels, increased droughts and floods and damaged infrastructure.
“The U.S. private sector, state and local governments and consumers can continue the inexorable economic-driven shift to renewable energy, but a decision to withdraw from the Paris accords cedes to other nations the full opportunities that the green economy offers.”
Natalie M. Mahowald: Paris agreement supports high-tech industries that drive innovation in the private sector
Mahowald is a professor of atmospheric sciences and faculty director for the environment at the Atkinson Center for a Sustainable Future at Cornell.
“It is extremely unfortunate that the Trump administration could be stepping back from leading the world on climate change.
“Supporting the Paris agreement is a vote for supporting the high-tech renewable industries driving innovation in the U.S. private sector, and will spur more economic growth. If the U.S. backs off from new innovative technologies in favor of old-fashioned, dirty technologies like coal, it will fall behind its trade partners like China and Europe.
“Most countries and industry representatives, as well as the U.S. military, would like there to be more action on climate change, because climate change can cause so much damage from high temperatures, droughts and flooding. This is likely to cause more migration, political insecurity and less profits for companies.”