Rep. John Shimkus’ recent commentary tells us it is time to say “adieu” to the Paris Climate Change Agreement. His reasoning is that we should not sacrifice American jobs, affordable electricity, and economic competitiveness for the sake of the environment. Shimkus’ view is extremely shortsighted as economic concerns are very short-term in the grander scheme. What we have done to affect climate and continue to do will continue on for hundreds of years into the future on a global scale. He is correct when he says that if the U.S. stopped carbon dioxide emissions 100 percent it would make little difference in in international climate predictions. What he does not say is that if all members of the Paris Agreement stop it will make a difference, slowing the rate of global warming. However, the Paris negotiations recognize that many of the worst effects of climate change will be too severe or come too quickly to be avoided by adaption measures. Shimkus may not know or care that the agreement specifically aims to address loss and damage due to climate change and find appropriate responses.
I hope Rep. Shimkus is not placing the short-term concern for corporate profit and political power ahead of what should be concern for the planet’s long-term future. While the rest of the world is developing technologies and jobs to combat climate change, Shimkus would have us stagnate in old-fashioned fossil fuel technology; reducing America’s leadership role and decidedly moving us toward un-greatness.
Paul Neff, O’Fallon