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The Paleontological Research Institution issues statement in response to U.S. withdrawal from the 2015 Paris Climate Agreement (Jun 2, 2017)

(ITHACA, N.Y.) The Paleontological Research Institution expresses its strongest possible disagreement with President Trump’s recent announcement that the United States will withdraw from participation in the 2015 Paris Climate Agreement. This historic agreement, in which all but two of the world’s countries agreed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, is a crucial step toward limiting future warming of our planet. We think that the President’s decision to withdraw the U.S. from the Paris agreement is profoundly unwise and shortsighted. A U.S. energy policy that does not reduce carbon emissions will ultimately harm people in our country and around the world, hurt the national economy, and diminish the international standing of the U.S.

The overwhelming majority of climate scientists accept that greenhouse gas emissions from human activities are leading to global-scale warming and related changes to our climate such as more frequent extreme weather events and new precipitation patterns. These climate changes can lead to human suffering through reduced food security, severe storm damage to property, illness and death from intense heat waves, and spread of vector-borne diseases. Climate change also threatens other life on our planet, such as through impacts of ocean acidification and heat stress on coral reefs, and through an increase in extreme weather events. Ecosystem damage by climate change can have devastating effects on people as well, decreasing food supplies, diminishing coastal flood protection, and decreasing availability of new compounds for developing medicines.

The U.S. is a global leader in climate science, and also needs to be a global leader in finding innovative ways to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Withdrawing from the Paris accord effectively cedes this leadership to other countries.

We strongly encourage the President to reconsider this decision, and to restore the U.S.’s full participation in this essential international agreement.

Warren Allmon, Director

About the Paleontological Research Institution and Climate Change Education

The Paleontological Research Institution conducts climate change education to expand people’s knowledge about Earth systems and how we interact with these systems, in order to encourage critical thinking and assist decision making around issues affecting climate and the stewardship of Earth’s natural resources. We believe that climate research and education is essential to mitigating the extensive negative impacts of global warming that are predicted to occur if emissions of greenhouse gases remain unchecked.