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VANCOUVER The U.S. government's decision to withdraw from the Paris Agreement is short-sighted given the global acceleration of renewable energy.

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"This top-down decision has left the U.S. administration stranded, spinning its wheels," David Suzuki Foundation science and policy director Ian Bruce said. "By withdrawing from the agreement, the president has taken a weak position that will stall economic and environmental progress."

The withdrawal will result in the U.S. administration surrendering its economic interest on the international stage with respect to climate issues and clean energy. As part of the Paris Agreement, the U.S. took on a leadership role in driving clean energy innovation, as well as monitoring other countries' progress and ensuring transparency. Now, Bruce said, the U.S. administration has weakened its position as a key player on the international stage.

"Global renewable energy investment and opportunities are accelerating by the day," Bruce said. "If the U.S. administration doesn't want to move forward, individual states will. California is already a world leader on climate policy. Texas is rapidly expanding its wind energy. Just because the U.S. has pulled out of the agreement doesn't mean Americans and U.S. investors will sit still. There is substantial economic opportunity in renewables. The U.S. solar industry alone creates one in 50 new jobs."

Polling results from Yale University's Climate Change in the American Mind survey conducted after the U.S. election show that 73 per cent of Trump voters would like to see the U.S. use more renewable energy. As recently as May 7, a small but increasingly vocal group of Republicans is embracing the reality of global warming and taking small steps to press the issue in Congress.

"The president is turning his back on states that voted for him," Bruce said. "Most Americans want renewable energy because it allows people the freedom to generate and supply their own energy and creates economic opportunities."

Bruce stressed that the U.S. can't afford to fall behind its international partners.

"After China, the U.S. is the world's second-largest greenhouse gas polluter — and China is leading the renewable energy revolution. It has just become the world's biggest producer of solar energy. So even though the U.S. administration is out, the world continues to move ahead. The Paris Agreement is still strong, and countries and states will continue to propel renewables despite this decision."

Although the U.S. is out of the accord, Canada remains signed on.

"This is an incredible opportunity for Canada to seize a global leadership position in clean energy growth," Bruce said. "With World Environment Day on June 5, the U.S.'s decision means that climate action is important now more than ever. This is our chance to show the world that Canadians are innovative and forward-thinking by prioritizing renewable energy and upholding our international commitments to act on climate change for the sake of people now and into the future."

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For more information, please contact:

Emily Fister
Climate Change & Clean Energy Communications Specialist
David Suzuki Foundation
604-440-5470

June 1, 2017
http://www.davidsuzuki.org/media/news/2017/06/us-withdrawal-from-paris-agreement/