Penn State, State College Leaders Express Support for Paris Climate Agreement

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by Geoff Rushton

Penn State and State College borough leaders have both said they will continue efforts that support the targets of the Paris climate agreement.

President Donald Trump announced on Thursday that he would withdraw the United States from the agreement aimed at mitigating the effects of climate change, controlling the rise of global temperatures and adopting renewable energy sources. It was signed by 196 countries in 2015. The United States’ departure makes its one of three nations in the world — along with Nicaragua and Syria — opposing the agreement

Trump claimed the agreement would have a negative effect on the U.S. economy and jobs and that the country is treated unfairly in the agreement, though each nation sets their own targets as part of the agreement.

On Monday, State College Mayor Elizabeth Goreham asked borough council and received approval in a unanimous vote to sign on to the “We Are Still In” letter, which to date has been signed by more than 900 businesses, 180 universities, 125 city and county leaders, nine governors and 19 attorneys general. Pennsylvania AG Josh Shapiro announced his support for the letter on Monday.

The letter states a commitment to action supporting the Paris agreement

“We’ve been devoted to this,” Goreham said.

On Tuesday, Penn State announced that it too had signed the letter.

“Today, as always, Penn State is committed to ensuring a sustainable future and to confronting the global challenges of climate change through our research, teaching, outreach and operational efforts across each of our campuses,” Penn State President Eric Barron said. “Our University’s commitment is strong, and I believe that by joining a coalition of other like-minded institutions and groups across various sectors, we collectively will have an even greater impact on the critical challenges facing our planet’s future.”

The letter states that local and state governments and businesses have the primary responsibility to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

“In the absence of leadership from Washington, states, cities, colleges and universities, businesses and investors, representing a sizeable percentage of the U.S. economy will pursue ambitious climate goals, working together to take forceful action and to ensure that the U.S. remains a global leader in reducing emissions,” the letter says.

Photo By: Alex Bauer
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