State governors call on Trump to stay in Paris climate deal

U.S. will fall behind as China and India take up the renewable energy mantle, state leaders warn.
By Daniel J. Graeber Follow @dan_graeber Contact the Author   |   May 4, 2017 at 6:32 AM
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May 4 (UPI) -- There's a competitive edge in staying in the Paris climate agreement because of the need for low-carbon developments under the accord, U.S. governors said.

Twelve state governors, including those rich in shale natural resources, signed a letter to President Donald Trump requesting continued alignment with the global climate agreement. In the letter, they remind the president that, because it's a multilateral accord, other developing economies like China and India will capitalize on the economic benefits of renewable technology if the United States leaves.

John Hickenlooper, the governor of shale oil and gas state Colorado, said clean-energy jobs support more than $3.5 billion in wages, with secondary economic benefits coming from lower electric bills.

"Clean energy is a win for Colorado jobs, a win for Colorado consumers, and a win for cleaner air," he said in a statement. "We look forward to continuing our progress and working with this administration to create 21st century jobs for a 21st century workforce."

The Trump administration has moved strongly in favor of fossil fuels, advancing several executive orders related to coal and crude oil development. As a candidate, the former real estate mogul expressed doubt about the validity of climate change claims.

In announcing its support for Trump's executive action, the American Petroleum Institute said "smart, common sense and science-based" guidelines should steer U.S. energy policy. Already, the API, which lobbies on behalf of the fossil fuels industry, said oil and gas supports about 8 percent of the national economy.

The state governors said, however, the U.S. economy would fall behind its Chinese and Indian peers without an energy policy that includes commitments to combat the effects of climate change. Penned shortly after the January inauguration, China's official Xinhua News Agency warned the Trump administration that decoupling the U.S. economy from the renewable energy sector might not work as designed. Xinhua's column follows a report from consultant group Frost & Sullivan that found economies in Asia would accelerate faster on the clean-energy front than their U.S. counterparts.

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