Professor Charles Driscoll on Impact of U.S. Pulling Out of Paris Accord
The decision by the Trump administration to pull out of the Paris climate accord is being met with disappointment by one of Syracuse University’s leading authorities on climate change. University Professor of Environmental Systems and Distinguished Professor Charles Driscoll believes today’s decision will make it “nearly impossible” to meet the main stated goal of limiting the global temperature rise to two degrees, and could lead to dramatic shifts in weather.
“We’re seeing effects of climate change now, especially in the higher latitudes” says Driscoll. “It’s getting warmer, and in the Northeast it’s getting wetter. We’ve certainly seen that lately, and over the long term too. Our weather has been more sporadic, with more droughts and more floods. Those were all projected by climate models, and it’s likely those weather events will increase in the future.”
Driscoll points out that while the United States is one of only three countries (with today’s decision by the Trump administration) not included in the agreement, the U.S. is one of the largest creators of greenhouse gas emissions. Driscoll was part of a team that studied the potential impact of reduced coal plant emissions. The team concluded that premature deaths would decline, especially in areas where power plants are located, if tougher standards were put into place. It now appears unlikely tougher standards will be adopted.
“It’s problematic, and I’m disappointed that the U.S. has pulled out. I am disappointed, because the Paris treaty was tremendous. It did have limitations and could be strengthened, but it is a good first step, and there was a lot of buy-in globally.”