Gloom-and-doom predictions about President Donald Trump’s decision to pull out of the Paris climate accord vastly overstate the risk to America’s burgeoning green energy industry, according to experts on the economy and environment.
Trump’s critics on the Left howled loudly, painting a picture of America getting left behind as countries race to develop solar panels and wind turbines to meet the energy demands of governments trying to reduce carbon emissions.
Greg Stanko, a senior partner at Mitchell Point Communications who has done extensive work for alternative energy companies, said the fear is that the Paris withdrawal will stall the momentum to reduce the country’s use of fossil fuels. That, in turn, could reduce job growth. But he said he is more optimistic.
“I don’t honestly think that that’s going to happen,” he told LifeZette. “I think the renewable industry has done a pretty good job of convincing middle America that it can do as good a job of providing energy cheaply … There’s not going to be as many job losses as people say.”
Stanko said most states, even Republican-leaning ones, mandate that a certain percentage of electricity come from clean-energy sources. This is not likely to change just because the United States is not part of the Paris accord, he said.
The agreement, negotiated in 2015 by almost 200 countries, makes very few enforceable demands. The countries committed to a goal of holding global temperature increases to less than 2 degrees Celsius by the end of the century. It also would have committed the United States and other rich nations to pay into a United Nations fund to compensate developing nations for switching to more expensive forms of energy.
Tom Richard, the managing editor of Climate Change Dispatch, said leaving the pact likely will have little practical impact on alternative energy producers.
“It’s symbolic,” he said. “It was going to be expensive only because we would be obligated to pay billions of dollars to the UN.”
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