Executive order surrounding climate agreement emits different reactions

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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — We’re hearing two starkly different reviews following President Biden’s executive action to rejoin the United States in the Paris Climate Accord.

Knox County Republican Party Chair thinks it’s a bad idea: “I think our nation as a whole shouldn’t have entered into that agreement. It wasn’t beneficial to us a nation. It had a negative financial impact and it will have a negative financial impact,” he said.

The climate accord was created in 2015. It aims to ensure the global temperature does not increase more than 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit. Without remediation, scientists project the planet is heading toward 5.2 degrees of warming.

The agreement, made up of nearly every nation in the world, includes many goals, mainly cutting greenhouse gas emissions worldwide. It also prioritizes conserving forests, as well as curbing loss and damage from the effects of climate change. The agreement calls on larger nations make clean energy investments in developing nations, though it’s unclear how much would fall on the American taxpayer.

“I think government lives beyond its means financially. That’s cause for grave concern. I think that should be the number one priority for the nation is getting our financial house in order,” Pace added.

Stephen Smith, Executive Director for the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy, believes steps like the Paris Climate Accord will put the U.S. at the forefront of new technology and result in more jobs. He used electric cars as an example.

“Electric vehicles are much cleaner and they’re actually better. They drive better and provide benefits for customers,” Smith said. “They also create jobs for our state. So, the notion that somehow or another solving for the climate crisis leads to a lack or jobs or lack of innovation is 180 degrees incorrect.”

The U.S. is the second-largest emitter of greenhouse gas. It’s one reason Smith believes it’s important for the country to lead and be a responsible partner.

“We need to basically be solving this crisis for our children and our grandchildren, so we don’t leave them a diminished world,” Smith added.

Scientists say the global climate initiative has already had some impact on the planet’s warming. Carbon pollution rose slightly from 2018 to 2019. It dropped 10% in 2020, due to the pandemic, but is expected to rise.

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