Letter to the editor

On June 1, Donald Trump stunned the world by withdrawing the United States from the Paris Climate Agreement. Reaction was sharp and swift. Twelve states, more than 200 colleges and universities, and more than 1,000 businesses (including two dozen Fortune 500 companies) pledged to honor the goals of the Paris accord whether Trump is on board or not.

Also committing to the Paris goal of reducing carbon emissions 26 percent to 28 percent below 2005 levels by 2025 were hundreds of cities in the Mayors National Climate Action Agenda. However, Columbus was not immediately one of those cities, so on June 2, I submitted a letter to the editor of the Columbus Dispatch urging the city not only to join those upholding the Paris, but also to join 30 other cities committing to 100 percent renewable energy community-wide by 2050.

My letter was published with a similar letter by Kevin Truitt on June 8.  On June 9, Columbus Mayor Andrew Ginther announced he was joining the Mayors National Climate Action Agenda to support the Paris Agreement.

Here is the text of my letter:

To the Editor:

I listened with dread Thursday when President Trump announced he was pulling the United States out of the Paris climate agreement. This breakthough accord was the first time 195 countries had come together to deal with global carbon emissions that are destabilizing the climate.

At the time, no one knew if so many countries could come to agreement. I was one of tens of thousands of citizens who traveled to Paris for the 2015 climate summit to show my support. Although initial commitments under the Paris accord are not enough, it is a good start with mechanisms for nations to review and increase their pledges every five years.

Trump’s withdrawal from the Paris agreement makes no sense. It will result in fewer jobs and more pollution. It will boost carbon emissions just when the earth’s climate is at a tipping point. And it positions China and the EU to take over world energy leadership from the United States.

Fortunately, Trump’s short-sightedness has galvanized renewed climate action. Four governors, 82 university presidents, 100 CEOs, and 180 mayors have formed a climate alliance that will submit plans to the United Nations for meeting U.S. emissions reduction targets.

So far Ohio leaders have held back, according to your article “Response to Trump’s Paris accord withdrawal mostly muted in Ohio” (6/2/17). They should join this alliance. The state could jump start thousands of good-paying clean energy jobs, while the city could showcase what it’s already doing to lower carbon emissions on the world stage.

In addition, Columbus should join Pittsburgh, Atlanta, and 27 other U.S. cities in committing to a 100% renewable energy portfolio.

We don’t need Trump to fight climate change. We can – and must – do that ourselves.

Cathy Cowan Becker

Grove City

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