Hoosier lawmakers divided on Trump withdrawal from climate accord

Many scientists have warned of the dangers of climate change some saw the Paris accord as a beacon of hope.

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Here in Indiana, lawmakers had divided opinions about President Donald Trump’s decision Thursday to withdraw from the Paris climate accord.

One lawmaker said the U.S. is sending a contradictory message on foreign policy to the rest of the world. Another said the Paris accord could have crippled coal jobs in southern Indiana.

With many scientists warning of the dangers of climate change some saw the Paris accord as a beacon of hope. Nearly 200 nations agreed to take action in the fight against global warming.

But now the United States will not participate. President Trump said the agreement was unfair to the American people because of its high cost. That is an opinion not taken well by U.S. Rep. Andre Carson, D-Ind.

“I think the Paris climate agreement is so important because it places the responsibility of addressing this issue on all nations and for us to pull out is a huge disappointment,” he said.

The president said he will look to renegotiate or enter a new agreement if it’s fairer.

24-Hour News 8 asked Carson about this possibility.

“I’m going to take a wait-and-see approach.”

Many scientists fear backing out of the agreement could be the tipping point for a planet seeing rising temperatures, sea levels and more natural disasters.

On Friday afternoon, Indianapolis Mayor Joe Hogsett issued this statement:

As a father, I often think of the legacy we will leave for our children. And as Mayor, I know that it will be up to Indianapolis civic leaders to come together and shape that future. The commitments made in the Paris Agreement aren’t about the political posturing or partisan rhetoric that dominates cable news – they are about ensuring the future health and livability of our city and the global community. In the coming weeks, I will join others around the country by bringing together local business, non-profit, and scientific leaders to develop actionable steps to reduce Indianapolis’ carbon emissions and continue moving toward a cleaner, more sustainable future.”

But some congressmen applauded President Trump’s decision.

Here’s a statement from Rep. Todd Rokita, R-Ind.:

President Trump made the right decision by withdrawing from the Paris Climate Agreement. We can all acknowledge that human activity has an impact on the environment, even if very small compared to natural cycles and events, and we need to be good stewards of the planet God has given us. Even if we could isolate global temperature changes as tied to human activity alone, nothing proposed in this agreement would have any meaningful impact on global temperatures. Countries like China, and other developing nations, are still going to pump carbon into the atmosphere and they will gladly watch us damage our economy and put ourselves at a competitive disadvantage.

While the Paris Climate Agreement would have had a negligible impact on global temperatures, it would have had a devastating impact on lower and middle income Americans who can’t afford increased electricity prices. This deal would have also destroyed hundreds of thousands of jobs by sending more American manufacturing to China and Mexico, and further crippled America’s struggling coal industry. Liberal billionaires who profit from government mandates will prosper as they fly in their private jets and hypocritically lecture us, but regular Americans will take a beating. I applaud President Trump for standing up for America’s middle class, American energy jobs and American manufacturing.”

Rep. Larry Bucshon also agreed with the president’s action. He sent out the following statement:

While we can all agree that we should continually work to minimize our impact on the environment through innovation and technology, this flawed deal is unfair to American workers and puts our country at an economic disadvantage to the benefit of countries like China, Iran, and India. Estimates show the agreement could cost 6.5 million American jobs and devastate areas like Southern Indiana where families rely on the coal industry. Not to mention, we were committed to this agreement – what should be considered a treaty – unilaterally by President Obama, without the advice and consent of the Senate. The American people should decide the direction of our domestic energy policy, not foreign nations. I’m happy the President took a strong stand today to ensure they do.”

All the congressmen agreed, however, that we should work together to shrink our energy footprint. Here’s how one local activist says you can play a part.

“You can begin workshops on how to be energy-efficient, workshops around how to deploy solar. You can be in the Statehouse speaking with your legislators,” said Denise Abdul-Rahman, the NAACP environmental climate justice chair in Indiana.

If you’re looking for some simple ways to save energy in your daily life, here are some tips courtesy of the National Wildlife Federation:

  • Turn off lights when you leave a room.
  • Use dimmers for lights.
  • Use motion sensors for outside lighting.
  • Use compact fluorescent light bulbs.
  • Have your air conditioner and furnace examined every couple years.
  • Clean your air conditioner regularly to get rid of any dust.
  • Use a microwave instead of an oven when possible.
  • Turn off or unplug television when you’re not leaving the house.
  • Buy rechargeable batteries and a charger to go with it.
  • Use the washing machine and dishwasher with full loads.

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