US sacrificing leadership to save doomed energy industry
President Trump is withdrawing the United States from the Paris Agreement, a global commitment by nearly 200 nations to collectively combat climate change.
The president has declared climate change a hoax perpetrated by the Chinese. This grave mistake threatens more than just the environment — it hurts the economy and puts national security at risk. We have a right to demand better.
This administration continues to devastate our international credibility, damage our relationship with close allies, and cede more global influence to economic competitors. The prize of leadership in the 21st-century economy could be sacrificed in a doomed attempt to revive the fossil-fueled economy of the 20th century. Leaders from China to India to Russia to the European Union have lined up to reassert their commitment to confronting the greatest challenge faced by civilization. With more than a third of the global renewable energy capacity additions in 2015, China led employment in renewable energy with 3.5 million jobs.
Trump claims to protect the US interests by leaving the Paris Climate Change Agreement. However, in full-page advertisements in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and New York Post in May and June, major companies such as Apple, Facebook and Google told the president that continued U.S. participation in the agreement will help them manage rising climate risks and compete in growing global clean energy markets. What makes America great is its brilliance at innovation, investment and building businesses. These endeavors in clean energy will no longer have the government’s support.
The public health issues of climate change should be evident. The economic benefits of a commitment to reduced CO2 emissions have been proven. According to The International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), driven by growth in wind and solar, renewable energy employment in the United States increased by 6 percent in 2015 to reach 769,000 jobs. Solar employment continued its rapid expansion — growing by almost 22 percent to reach 209,000 in 2015. Jobs in the solar industry grew 12 times as fast as overall job creation in the U.S. economy, and surpassed those in oil and gas extraction (187,200) or coal mining (67,929). Support of the Paris Climate Agreement is an investment in Pittsburgh and the rest of the country.