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Trump’s climate dilemma: Will US remain in the Paris Accord?

The views and opinions expressed in this blog are those of the author’s and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Hydrocarbon Processing.

US Secretary of State, Rex Tillerson signed an agreement at a meeting of the Arctic nations Thursday, recognizing the Paris climate accord. With the signing of this agreement, what does that say about the administration’s stand on the Paris accord, and will the President decide the US should stay in it?

In the past few weeks, advisers of President Donald Trump, as well as foreign dignitaries have fallen on both sides of the argument. Daughter and son-in-law Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner, along with Tillerson, agree the US should stay in the pact, while Environmental Protection Agency chief Scott Puritt and senior adviser Steve Bannon are urging Trump to withdraw.

At the end of March, Trump signed an executive order undoing Obama-era climate change regulations, citing that these regulations hobbled oil drillers and coal miners. The order’s focus was former President Barack Obama’s Clean Power Plan, which required states to slash carbon emissions from power plants. This initiative was passed as a commitment to the 2015 accord that was reached by almost 200 countries.

Trump needs to realize that no amount of slashing of regulations will bring back dying industries, like the coal industry, and these Obama-era regulations, as well as the Paris agreement, are not hindering the energy industry. These diminished industries are dying off because of advancements, and price. The President should allow the US to stay in the Paris accord, showing the other 200 countries of the world that the US is willing to be a team player for the greater good. This can be done without detriment to the energy sector and has been done for years.

According to the US Energy Information Administration (EIA), US energy-related carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions in 2016 fell 1.7% below 2015 levels. The reason why, according to the EIA, is because natural gas consumption was higher and coal consumption was significantly lower. It’s a natural progression in that as life and technology advance, older industries begin to die off. This happened during the industrial revolution and it’s happening now. This is not a fight against climate change and environmentalists, it’s a fight against natural selection and evolution.

Trump can’t go back to the heyday of coal, nor should he want to. By staying in the Paris Agreement, he can begin to put to rest, the fears of those who see him as a detriment to the US, and instill a sense of community with the other 200 countries in the accord.

We will have to wait until after the G7 summit at the end of May, as White House spokesman Sean Spicer said May 9, the President will not make a decision before then.

Should the US stay in the Paris climate accord? Or does it even matter? Let me hear your thoughts below.

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