Quitting Paris climate accord is a mistake

lede07z-a
President Donald Trump makes a statement on the Paris climate change accord in the Rose Garden of the White House on Thursday.

Quitting Paris pact is a mistake

Pulling out of the Paris climate agreement marks a step backward in the global effort to combat global warming ("Trump pulls U.S. out of accord," Friday). We at the Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University believe our nation, along with all the other nations who have pledged their support, has an obligation to maintain our commitment to the pact. The president said he would immediately seek to renegotiate the accord. We encourage swift action to reenter the agreement.

Our decades of research support the consensus of the scientific community that the earth is warming and climates are changing at an unprecedented rate. We support the consensus that human activity has a significant impact on these changes, including increased emissions of greenhouse gases.

The academy will continue our research to understand environmental conditions, processes, and their impacts, as climate change has the potential to disrupt ecosystems. We will continue to conduct research on climate adaptation and mitigation strategies and to communicate scientific knowledge to the public. We applaud the commitments of state and local governments, including the City of Philadelphia, to follow the guidelines of the Paris pact.

|George W. Gephart Jr., president and CEO, Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University, Philadelphia

Voters must step up

It is heartening to see that the mayors of Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Allentown, Princeton, and Trenton are among 246 "Climate Mayors" - representing 56 million Americans - who will "adopt, honor, and uphold" the goals of the Paris agreement ("State, city leaders form alliances to support Paris pact," Saturday).

That will not be easy, with the Trump administration's subversion of the U.S. commitment, but it won't be impossible. Pennsylvania has on the books the 2008 Climate Change Act, and we must ensure that these commitments to clean air and water are maintained in state law and pursued to end methane pollution as well.

U.S. withdrawal will take four years, based on the agreement's terms, so voters can elect a president in 2020 who can bring us back to the reality of climate change. This effort will begin in the congressional midterms of 2018, in which champions of climate action should emerge.

Until the U.S. rejoins the family of nations in climate action, our cities and states must take the lead, as well as enlightened companies and individuals. We can, and shall, overcome this historic setback.

|Ed Aguilar, Pennsylvania director, Coalition for Peace Action, Philadelphia

Renewable energy vs. rising seas

On behalf of Bucks County Environmental Action, I share our disappointment and anger with the president's unilateral move to take the United States out of the Paris climate agreement. Nearly 200 countries have signed on, and as the second-largest carbon producer, the United States needs to make carbon reductions, not flout them as bad for business.

China and Germany are in partnership in solar, wind, and other clean energies. Renewable energy is good for business and grows our economy. India will produce only electric cars in two decades, and solar power creates double the jobs of coal there and in Pennsylvania. As citizens, we expect our legislators and the president to follow the science of climate change, not deny it to make money for the 1 percent.

The effects of climate change are evident at the Jersey Shore and across the country. The price for resisting renewable energy is rising sea levels.

Help us fight for climate justice and against public policy that is harming people and the planet for corporate profits.

|Stuart Chen-Hayes, Newtown

Coal jobs no reason to quit accord

The Trump administration has cited protection of American coal mining jobs as a major factor in pulling out of the Paris climate accord. It is exasperating that politicians still blame clean-energy standards for the shrinking coal sector.

Coal jobs aren't coming back, despite Trump's campaign promises, for two simple reasons:

1. Automation has rendered most of these jobs redundant.

2. Changing economies have made renewable energy the future of the energy sector. Wind is the fastest growing energy source, and solar energy has tripled in the last two years.

By withdrawing from the agreement, Trump is delaying the inevitable and hurting America's renewable energy sector, while China and Europe rapidly develop the wind- and solar-energy technologies that will power the future. We need to invest in renewables instead of trying to return to a past that doesn't exist.

|Martin Cheung, Philadelphia

Worldwide standards worthwhile

Even if we accept criticisms of the Paris climate agreement ("Ill defined goals, no enforcement," Tuesday), I disagree that "including the entire world in climate agreements is unnecessary." There is value in bringing the whole world into an agreement that falls short of being enforceable. It establishes a floor for everyone to come up to and to stay with. It establishes minimum requirements.

The proper response to an inadequate agreement is to build on it, not toss it aside. We still have powerful, wealthy interests that want to ignore the threat of climate change and keep pumping carbon into the atmosphere so they can continue to make money - even if that means killing off humanity.

|Richmond L. Gardner, Horsham