Trump's withdrawal from Paris Agreement causes concern on campus
President Donald J. Trump announced Thursday that the United States will be leaving the Paris Agreement — a treaty signed by 194 parties across the world to reduce greenhouse gas emissions — to preserve U.S. jobs.
However, he noted that he was open to negotiating the terms of the agreement, and finding a deal most advantageous to U.S. workers.
“So we’re getting out, but we'll start to negotiate, and we’ll see if we can make a deal that’s fair,” Trump said.
Throughout his speech, Trump commented on how other countries, such as China, are trying to take advantage of the agreement, and he wants to re-establish the notion of the United States as a world power.
“At what point do they stop laughing at us as a country?” he said. “I was elected to represent the citizens of Pittsburgh, not Paris.”
In a statement, U.S. Rep. Debbie Dingell (D–Mich.) called Trump’s decision “stunning” and stated withdrawing from the agreement would only harm the country's position in the world economy.
“This abdication of American leadership jeopardizes not only our credibility on the world stage, but our ability to achieve energy freedom and to innovate and compete in the new energy economy, costing our country the new jobs and businesses that come with it,” she said.
Dingell also expressed fear for the future health and safety of the U.S. people, noting the only two countries not part of the agreement are Syria and Nicaragua.
“Joining Nicaragua and Syria as the only countries not included in the agreement is dangerous and shortsighted and will have devastating consequences for the future of our planet and the health of our people, as well as our national security and economic competitiveness," she said.
LSA junior Amanda Delekta, vice president of internal affairs for the University of Michigan’s chapter of College Republicans, said though the agreement is costly for taxpayers, she is concerned how withdrawing will affect the U.S.’s relationship with world allies.
“From an economic standpoint I think there are far more crucial ways to be spending taxpayer money than on the projected costs of the Paris Climate Agreement,” Delekta said. “However, I am concerned as to how backing out of the deal will affect foreign relations. I am hoping President Trump and his team will be able to act in a way that is economically conscious while preserving strong relationships with American allies.”
Paul Edwards, Professor of History and Information and an attendee of the 2015 Paris Conference that led to the Paris Agreement, echoed Delekta’s sentiment and told Michigan News that he thinks withdrawing from the agreement will cause other countries to view the United States in a negative light.
“Trump’s choice will not stop the world from acting on climate change,” he said. “Nor will it do more than delay the decarbonization of the U.S. economy, a process already well under way due to the simple economics of renewable energy costs. Instead, Trump's ignorant decision contributes mainly to the rapid decline of America's reputation. In its place, China and the European Union will now lead the way.”
Chair of College Democrats Rowan Conybeare, a Public Policy senior, also expressed disappointment toward the decision.
"It is upsetting to learn that, as a world leader, the U.S. has pulled out of the Paris agreement," she wrote. "It was a necessary, pivotal agreement working to combate climate change."