Mid-Michigan reacts to withdrawal from Paris climate agreement - WNEM TV 5

Mid-Michigan reacts to withdrawal from Paris climate agreement

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SAGINAW, MI (WNEM) -

The Paris climate agreement was adopted in December of 2015 as a voluntary commitment by more than 190 nations to reduce pollution.

Only Nicaragua and Syria opted out of the agreement.

So far, France, Italy and Germany have said the deal cannot be renegotiated.

Twenty-five major U.S. companies warned the U.S. would be foregoing a global leadership opportunity. Even some members of the Trump administration were divided on the issue.

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and the Ivanka Trump opposed the withdrawal.

"It is shocking that it's the United States that's actually blocking things that could help climate change problems," said Mariah McClean, with the Saginaw Valley Sustainability Society.

She worries for the future of the planet. McClean said she is deeply upset with President Donald Trump's decision to withdraw from the agreement.

"I mean the biggest thing climate is about it water and air. So we'll have major effects in this area and we have 24 percent of the world's fresh water here. So putting it at risk is just a ridiculous thing to do," McClean said.

President Trump said the Paris deal disadvantages the U.S. He also said the deal leads to job loss and low wages.

"Well it's about time. I really don't think we should have been in it in the first place," said Mark Plant, resident.

A spokesperson for the Bay County Republican Party said Michigan cannot talk about any cuts to industrial manufacturing as it has been detrimental to the state's economy for years, but they support companies that put the environment on the forefront of their operations.

"I think the climate change agenda has been so over exaggerated for the last decade. It's a good move on the president's part," said Rich Roberts, resident.

Some locals are concerned what this could mean for the future of the environment.

"We recycle. We try to watch out green footsteps and everything we can at home. Why can't we as a country," said Kathy DeNay, resident.

Even after Thursday's decision, McClean said she hopes individuals and companies still do what they can to make the environment cleaner.

"People don't like to deal with this issue and I get it. It's big and it's scary, but we can impact it," McClean said.

U.S. Senator Gary Peters released this statement:

Shamefully, President Trump’s choice puts the United States with Syria and Nicaragua as the only three nations refusing to join the Paris agreement.

Our allies are profoundly shocked by this decision. It reinforces the belief that America is abdicating its leadership role in the world. There are long-term diplomatic consequences for this misguided move.

Today is a sad day for our world. The president has chosen to endanger our planet over the future of our children and grandchildren. We cannot allow this to stand.

U.S. Congressman Dan Kildee released this statement:

President Trump is failing to address one our country’s most pressing threats: climate change. Military and defense experts have concluded that climate change represents a major risk to our national security and have urged the President to develop a comprehensive strategy to address it. Instead, President Trump has dangerously decided to pull America out of the Paris Climate Agreement that seeks to address climate change, jeopardizing our domestic security and putting us at odds with our allies around the globe.

We have a moral responsibility to recognize that climate change is real and requires urgent action. We cannot afford to pretend that climate change is not real. The effects of climate change are evident all around us: surging asthma rates, deadly floods and droughts, and rising sea levels. To deny these effects of climate change on our children and communities will prove to be a grave mistake.

Climate change is also a real threat to the Great Lakes. In addition to current threats like pollution and invasive species, climate change presents new stressors for the Great Lakes. They could forever change if we allow climate change to deplete Great Lakes water levels and increase water temperatures, changing not only habitats and ecosystems, but also jeopardizing our jobs and economy that relies on our water resources.

Americans for Prosperity-Michigan Director Pete Lund issued this statement:

The Paris agreement was all pain and no gain for the United States, but especially so for Michigan.  Tens of thousands of manufacturing workers can sleep a little easier tonight because of this wise decision. President Trump deserves tremendous credit for standing up to immense domestic and international pressure to keep his campaign promise and do what’s right for Michigan and America.

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