OU vows to combat climate change despite U.S. withdrawal from Paris Agreement

Ohio University announced Monday — President Duane Nellis’ first day in Cutler Hall — that it will join a national coalition committed to fighting climate change.

The initiative aligns with the values and actions reflected in the Paris Agreement, a global effort to stop temperatures from rising two degrees Celsius from pre-industrial levels.

When President Donald Trump announced on June 1 that the United States would withdraw from the Paris Agreement, his decision was met with substantial backlash from politicians, companies and individuals — both foreign and domestic.

Although the national government would be pulling out — making the United States one of just three countries, alongside Nicaragua and Syria, not a part of the agreement — local and state governments and companies such as Facebook, Apple and Google rebuked the decision and vowed to continue to make strides to protect the environment despite national legislation.

The process of withdrawing will take several years: in fact, the earliest a country can leave is Nov. 4, 2020 — the day after the next presidential election.

Although the United States will still be obligated to follow the guidelines outlined in the Paris Climate Agreement until then, mayors, governors, CEOs, universities and more are banding together to make sure the efforts don’t stop then.

“Human impact on climate change is real, and the threat to our planet is undeniable,” Nellis said in a news release on Monday. “Ohio University chooses to lead by example by working toward a sustainable future in every capacity we can. I am proud to stand with my university colleagues from across the nation as we continue to support climate action to meet the Paris Agreement.”

Ohio Gov. John Kasich, who was in the running for the GOP presidential candidacy last year, released a statement criticizing Trump’s decision to withdraw from the agreement. Although he said in a Facebook statement he did not agree with all aspects of the agreement, he acknowledges the human impact on climate change.

“It is a global issue and will need a global agreement to address,” Kasich said in his statement. “And we could have negotiated that agreement in ways that would not needlessly destroy jobs.”

Athens Mayor Steve Patterson’s office said he has not yet released an official statement.



 Originally published for The Post on June 14, 2017.

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