Wake County

Wake County pledges to uphold Paris Agreement on climate change

Wake County Commissioners unanimously passed the above resolution on Monday, June 19, 2017, to show support for the goals of the Paris Agreement, a global pact meant to curb climate change.
Wake County Commissioners unanimously passed the above resolution on Monday, June 19, 2017, to show support for the goals of the Paris Agreement, a global pact meant to curb climate change.

Wake County leaders voiced their support Monday for the Paris Agreement and opposed President Donald Trump’s decision to withdraw from it.

The Board of Commissioners unanimously adopted a resolution committing the county to the agreement’s goals.

The Paris Agreement is a non-binding pact between all but three of the world’s nations that commits to curbing greenhouse gas emissions. Its goal is to limit temperature rise to 1.5 degrees Celsius by 2100. It was negotiated and ratified last year under former President Barack Obama.

A draft presented early Monday characterized the Trump administration’s withdrawal as based on “misrepresentations about the Paris Agreement and its effects on the American economy.”

That sentence was struck from the resolution’s final version, however. Comissioner John Burns explained in a tweet that the county “wanted to focus on the message of the Accord and the benefit to our area, not on political recriminations.”

Trump announced earlier this month that the U.S. would exit the agreement, prompting cities and towns around the country to affirm a commitment to reducing emissions on their own terms.

Trump said the agreement harmed U.S. workers “to the exclusive benefit of other countries.”

Wake County joins Orange County, Raleigh, Durham, Chapel Hill, Carrboro and Hillsborough among Triangle governments to pledge support for the Paris Agreement.

Cary Mayor Harold Weinbrecht has said he doesn’t plan to issue any kind of statement about the agreement. He said he thinks nonpartisan governing bodies risk alienating each other and voters by weighing in on controversial, partisan issues.

But commissioners at Monday afternoon’s meeting said they didn’t feel the issue was controversial. Chairman Sig Hutchinson added that he saw the county’s commitment to environmental protection as an economic issue.

“Addressing climate change requires a global commitment, and it’s incumbent on Wake County to do our part,” Vice Chair Matt Calabria said Monday. “Holding ourselves to reasonable climate change goals adopted by almost all other countries shows families, workers, and businesses that we are committed to being a sustainable community. I would also note that we might end up saving money on energy costs.”

Staff writer Paul A. Specht contributed reporting.

Gargan: 919-829-4807; @hgargan

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