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Vern Buchanan wants Donald Trump to keep U.S. in Paris climate accord

in The Bay and the 'Burg/Top Headlines by
U.S. Rep. Vern Buchanan

Sarasota Republican Congressman Vern Buchanan wants President Donald Trump to keep the United States in the Paris Agreement, the landmark climate change document officially ratified last year by the U.S. and 194 other signatories.

Although Trump said this past weekend that he was still considering whether to remain in the pact, Axios reported this weekend that it’s already a done deal. The website said that according to three sources with direct knowledge, Trump privately told multiple people, including EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt, that he plans to leave the Paris agreement.

Should Trump exit the pact, the U.S. would be the first country to exit, which would also be the second time that America has signed onto a global climate deal under a Democratic president only to walk away from the same agreement under a Republican predecessor. President George W. Bush had ultimately reneged on the Kyoto Protocol agreed to by President Bill Clinton in 1997.

“I strongly encourage the president to remain in the Paris climate accord,” Buchanan said in a statement. “Climate change is a serious issue, especially for a state like Florida that has two coastlines vulnerable to rising waters. Only Syria and Nicaragua are not part of the 197-country agreement, which lays out voluntary goals for reducing harmful greenhouse gas emissions.”

Scientists say that U.S. withdrawal from the pact would worsen an already bad problem, and make it far more difficult to prevent crossing a dangerous global temperature threshold.

Calculations suggest it could result in emissions of up to 3 billion tonnes of additional carbon dioxide in the air a year, according to more than two dozen scientists who consulted with The Associated Press. When it adds up year after year, scientists said that is enough to melt ice sheets faster, raise seas higher and trigger more extreme weather.

Last week 22 GOP Senators wrote to Trump calling for him to withdraw the U.S. from the international agreement. While that may sound like a lot, it’s less than half the GOP Senate caucus. No Democrats have requested withdrawal from the agreement.

“Our withdrawal would send the wrong message to the world,” Buchanan says. “Protecting the environment and growing the economy are not mutually exclusive. We should be doing everything we can to accomplish both.”

Buchanan is now in his 11th year in Congress. Last week the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee added his district to a list of 79 specific Republican seats in Congress they are targeting in 2018.

Mitch Perry has been a reporter with Extensive Enterprises since November of 2014. Previously, he served as five years as the political editor of the alternative newsweekly Creative Loafing. He also was the assistant news director with WMNF 88.5 FM in Tampa from 2000-2009, and currently hosts MidPoint, a weekly talk show, on WMNF on Thursday afternoons. He began his reporting career at KPFA radio in Berkeley. He's a San Francisco native who has now lived in Tampa for 15 years and can be reached at

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