WashU Expert: Trump’s withdrawal from Paris Agreement a play to his base

Climate change negotiations in Paris

President Donald Trump’s decision to pull the U.S. from the 2015 Paris climate agreement constitutes a move that that cannot be justified on his stated grounds for withdrawal, says an expert in environmental law at Washington University in St. Louis.

“The Paris Agreement is not a ‘bad deal’ for the United States,” said Maxine Lipeles, senior lecturer in law and director of the Interdisciplinary Environmental Clinic.

Maxine Lipeles

“Each country selects its own targets for emissions reduction,” she said. “Moreover, the U.S. is already well on its way to meeting the targets set by the Obama Administration. President Trump’s decision will not change the steady move across the country from fossil fuels to cleaner, cheaper, job-generating renewable energy.”

That move, Lipeles said, is driven largely by market forces, not policy choices made in Washington.

“Just last week, in one of the country’s most coal-dependent states, Kansas City Power & Light announced its voluntary decision to retire six generating units at three power plants in the Kansas City area,” she said. “The company’s CEO said it has cleaner ways of generating the power its customers need.”

And just two months ago, Lipeles said, Anheuser-Busch InBev joined numerous other companies across the world in committing to obtain 100 percent of its electricity from renewable sources.

“President Trump’s decision virtually ignores the threats that unchecked climate change poses to our national security, economy, public health and overall sustainability,” she said.

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