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Withdrawal of Paris accord motivates some local governments on climate policies, says urban sustainability scholar

Friday, June 02, 2017

LAWRENCE — After President Donald Trump's decision to withdraw the United States from the Paris climate accord, national media reported several U.S. local governments and states are planning to submit their own plan to the United Nations pledging to meet greenhouse gas emissions targets.

A University of Kansas researcher who studies urban sustainability said Trump's action has spurred certain local and statement governments to commit deepen to their own environmental and climate efforts.

Rachel Krause, associate professor in the KU School of Public Affairs & Administration, is available to discuss implications of the withdrawal from the Paris Agreement and what it means for local governments. Krause has co-authored several journal articles on local governance and urban sustainability efforts, including how cities' council election process influenced sustainability initiatives and which factors influence long-term local climate policies.

Krause said the Trump administration would have directed the federal government to be unsupportive of actions mitigating greenhouse gas emissions whether the U.S. remained in the Paris Agreement or not. Symbolically, withdrawing from the agreement sent a message to the rest of the world, she said, but it also seemed to embolden cities and states that are generally more supportive of the Paris climate deal.

"It isn’t going to make subnational action any more difficult than it already would have been — unless it emboldens conservative states to prohibit their cities from taking action," Krause said.

"On the flip-side, committed cities and state governments now feel their efforts are more important than ever, so they might be spurred to additional action."

To arrange an interview with Krause, contact George Diepenbrock at 785-864-8853 or gdiepenbrock@ku.edu.


Ruth DeWitt, Communications Manager
KU School of Public Affairs and Administration
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