Mayor’s National Climate Agreement: Dallas joins coalition to uphold Paris Agreement

MIKE McGEE | 6/27/2017, 11:13 a.m.
Two months ago, Dallas held what was considered the nation’s largest Earth Day celebration, attracting 100,000 attendees, as stated on ...
Mayor Mike Rawlings Official photo

David Griggs, political chairman of the Lone Star Chapter of the Sierra Club, also supports the U.S. maintaining the accord.

“Leaving the Paris Climate Agreement after we had a lot to do with making sure that it happened is embarrassing,” he expressed. “It shows that we have a lack of leadership at the presidential level to not recognize the importance of our remaining the leader in the world in brining technology and the reduction of carbon emissions.”

Contrasting the stance of Griggs and the mayor, however, is Texas Railroad Commissioner Wayne Christian. When approached for a comment on the president’s action, Ramona Nye, spokesperson for the Railroad Commission of Texas, offered a link on the Commission’s website that led to a June 1 statement titled Exiting European Climate Accord Is Good For Texas. In the piece, the commissioner indicated supporting jobs for the area was indeed an important consideration.

“Today, President Donald Trump withdrew the United States from the Paris Climate Accord, clearly demonstrating his commitment to putting America first and prioritizing jobs for middle-class Americans,” Christian wrote.

“According to a report sponsored by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, remaining in the Paris Climate Accord would cost the American economy and workers 6.5 million jobs and $3 trillion in economic growth by 2040.” The commissioner further claimed that the economy “would take a massive hit, other nations would continue business as usual.”

Conversely, Griggs claimed that the oil and gas industries already held too much power in the state and pondered the idea that exiting the accord may seem a tacit approval to further the controversial practice of hydraulic fracturing, or fracking – the injecting of liquid into the ground to extract gas or raw oil.

“Yes, it certainly does,” the Sierra Club representative said as he pointed out that advocates for ecology didn’t need the president pulling out of the agreement to recognize the influence the fossil fuel industries had in the state.

Over the past few years, the city has seen a steep increase in small earthquakes attributed to fracking. There has also been criticism on the lack of information about the chemical makeup of the liquid ingredients used in the practice.

“It kind of puts the national stamp of approval on the challenges we already face here in Texas as environmental activists and as people who just care about sustainability in general, which is the great majority of the Texas citizens,” Griggs said.

Christian, on the other hand, declared that fracking was better for the environment long-term than other alternatives to harvesting fossil fuel.

“Through advancements in horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing, the free-market is reducing our carbon emissions by flooding the electric market with low-cost natural gas to generate electricity,” he wrote.

“The environmental movement is losing creditability with the working American by prioritizing costly mandates and carbon-taxes over free-markets and innovation. It’s time we put Lubbock, Houston, and McAllen, Texas ahead of Paris, France,” the commissioner continued on what he described as “climate alarmism.”

Although neither the mayor not the railroad commissioner addressed local potential health issues that could be associated with separating from the accord, Griggs affirmed that his organization had always played a role in attempting to improve the quality of life for residents in economically depressed neighborhoods.