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Will the United States be left behind?
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Earlier this month, Trump announced his intention to withdraw from the Paris Agreement on Climate Change. While his action may score political points with the shrinking group of people who continue to deny the world is warming in the face of overwhelming evidence, his decision to isolate us from global efforts to slow climate change will harm our nation and our community.

We now join only two other countries not joining in the accord.

The Paris Agreement was the first time that all nations - including previous holdouts like China and India - agreed to do their fair share to cut carbon pollution.

By shirking our responsibility, we are now at greater risk of seeing the worst of climate change in the coming years. A recent study from researchers at Georgia State University predicts that if greenhouse gas emissions continue to grow, our climate in northeast Georgia will begin to feel more like the tropical climate of south Florida - with serious effects on air pollution, public health, and our overall quality of life.

Already we have seen extreme warm weather in the winter causing peach crops to bud early followed by three days of extreme cold in April which destroyed 80 percent of the peach crop. This type of extreme weather will get worse in the years to come causing more and more disruption in our food supply.

Trump claims he is doing this because the agreement is not good for our economy. But in actuality, moving backwards on climate while the rest of the world moves forward will mean missing out on economic opportunities associated with new economic sectors like clean energy, energy efficiency, green manufacturing and advanced waste management. Falling solar and wind prices have led to new power deals across the world. Businesses and local governments have made great strides in converting to green building and transportation practices. Trump's promise to bring back coal won't help these coal miners-what they should be getting is training in the clean energy sector. In Georgia alone there are over 5000 jobs in the green energy sector with less than 2,200 in the fossil fuel business.

Despite the Administration's shameful political ploy, cities and regions around the country are taking stronger action to cut carbon pollution.

Two hundred and eleven cities, more than 100 universities, more than 500 businesses and multiple non-profit organizations have joined in a nationwide coalition pledging to adhere to the agreements of the Paris Climate accord despite Trumps irrational decision. As federal leadership declines, Georgia should step up and join them. Atlanta and many other cities in Georgia have joined the coalition. We should demand that the leaders in northeast Georgia and our state leaders do the same!

Bette Holland
Dawsonville

 

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