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Source: Spectrum News

Economists, Environmentalists Concerned About Pulling Out of Paris Accord

BY SARAH BLAZONIS

Posted: June 2, 2017
Originally Published: June 1, 2017

HAMBURG, N.Y. -- A picturesque scene along Lake Erie's shores didn't match the mood of environmental advocates Thursday night.

"This is a dark day in America's history," said Brian Smith, associate executive director of the Citizens Campaign for the Environment.

"It's pretty devastating news," Diana Strablow, who serves on the Sierra Club Niagara's executive committee.

President Trump said during his announcement that it's estimated full implementation of the Paris Accord would've meant cutting global temperatures by just two-tenths of one degree by 2100. Environmental advocates question that and say any measures are needed because we're already experiencing negative impacts.

"You go no further than the shores of Lake Ontario. They're facing catastrophic flooding, and this is because of the extreme weather that we're seeing because of climate change. Look to storms like Sandy and Irene," said Smith.

"We have historically been the largest contributor to climate change, and for us to not take a leadership role in this, you know, could have an impact on other countries," Strablow said.

As for the president's statements that pulling out of the accord will be good for the economy, some aren't so sure that will be the case for Western New York.

"The problem is how you think about jobs. Are you thinking about jobs that are going to be in the future, or are we looking at jobs in the past?" said Fred Floss, chair of SUNY Buffalo State's economics and finance department.

Floss said jobs in fields like manufacturing and mining would be hurt by the Paris Accord, but those aren't the kind of jobs the country is moving toward.

"We look at Solar City, for example. We look at building the wind turbines. We look at environmental farming and land use in Western New York. All those will create good-paying jobs," Floss said.

And while the president said he's open to renegotiating the agreement, environmental advocates we spoke with doubt that will happen.