WATERLOO — There are many reasons U.S. 1st Dist. Rep. Rod Blum agrees with President Donald Trump’s decision Thursday to withdraw from the Paris climate accord.
But chief among them, Blum believes, is an agreement with 195 countries should be considered a treaty and needs “advice and consent” from two-thirds of the U.S. Senate.
The withdrawal will put the United States in the company of just Syria and Nicaragua among nations not part of the agreement, but Blum said he’s not bothered by that. A total of 147 countries have signed and ratified the agreement, but 195 have signaled support for it.
“We ought to continue to care about our environment, make sure we have clean water and clean air. I think we’ve done a good job of that,” Blum said.
Many Republicans joined Blum in supporting the decision. U.S. Sen. Charles Grassley said at a town hall that the agreement, negotiated under former President Barack Obama, should have come before the Senate, Iowa Public Radio reported.
Democrats have called withdrawal “reckless” and say it shows Trump’s lack of commitment to address climate change. A national poll after the election from the Yale Program on Climate Change Communication showed 69 percent of Americans supported the agreement.
The Paris agreement’s goal is to “strengthen the global response to the threat of climate change,” according to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. The goal is to limit global temperature increases to 1.5 degrees Celsius and help countries address impacts of climate change.
“There’s a lot of downside economically and financially for our country in that agreement and very little upside,” Blum said Thursday just after Trump officially announced his decision.
He said Trump’s decision was “good news for our country’s economy, workers and taxpayers.”
Blum said he didn’t like provisions in the agreement that required the United States to contribute to other countries’ efforts to address climate change.
“Let’s keep American tax dollars here, and what I’d love to see is let’s keep that money here and let’s invest it in research. I’d love to see part of it invested in research in more and better renewable fuels,” Blum said. “I’m not a person that likes sending our taxpayer dollars over to other countries.”