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Street Beat: What Do You Think About Leaving the Paris Climate Agreement? 

Central Oregonians React

This week, we asked people:

What's your take on the president's decision to pull the United States out of the Paris Agreement—the worldwide agreement to work toward reducing carbon emissions, in an effort to combat climate change?

William Anderson, Summit High School sophomore

I feel like pulling out of the Paris Agreement is a very shortsighted action. I feel that, diplomatically, this will hurt the U.S., considering how many countries are in the Paris Agreement. The fact that Syria and Nicaragua are the only other countries not in it, it really creates a dent in U.S. diplomatic foreign affairs. I also feel like it will damage a lot of coastal cities in the U.S. after they experience the effects of climate change. Despite the possible benefits in the short run to the U.S. economy, down the road this will have a negative effect.

Doug Elliot, Summit High School science teacher

I think this is a step backward in trying to combat the problem of global warming. That problem is ongoing and it takes a collective effort to address it in a meaningful way. The United States has an opportunity to act in a positive way as a world leader to move things forward on the subject of climate change and we are now going in the opposite direction, in my opinion. I believe, in the context of the current administration, this type of behavior, that puts "America first" and acts independently without looking at, perhaps, the collective good of the world community, has become expected. In the past, this might have been something that was unusual, but it seems to be more the norm nowadays.

Troy Kucera, Bend resident

I think it is shortsighted, and I think he is just appealing to his base. This base is working-class Americans from middle America that were kind of duped into voting for him based on him telling them that he is going to bring their jobs back. Lots of those jobs are now obsolete and aren't coming back. I think he just duped a lot of people. Thankfully, a bunch of states and other countries are still committed to implementing the change that he, yesterday, pulled us out of. Hopefully, large states like California and Oregon and Washington can band together and say they are going to stick with it. Lots of companies sell products in those states, and they will have to abide by their environmental regulations, so hopefully it will stay that way.

Christie McCormick, Bend resident

I think it is despicable, shortsighted, selfish and embarrassing. I feel sad and angry and fearful. What he has done in pulling out of the Paris Agreement, and I personally think he has done a lot of terrible things, but this is flying in the face of two of the most civilizing principles or institutions that we have right now as a society. One is diplomacy, and turning his back on essentially every other nation is a slap in the face, and it isolates us and that's not good. The other institution is science. I think that as soon as we are ignoring scientific reality and deciding that we can override it, it becomes a crisis. This is the greatest crisis of our time.

On June 6, a coalition of 1,219 governors, mayors, businesses, and universities and colleges—including Oregon Gov. Kate Brown—publicly announced their intent to continue ensuring the U.S. remains a global leader in reducing carbon emissions, calling the effort the "We Are Still In" initiative. The mayors of Beaverton, Eugene and Portland also signed on.

Editor's note: No one we contacted for this report was willing to go on the record supporting the U.S.' departure from the Paris Agreement.

Intern Leigha Threlkeld contributed to this report.

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