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Santa Barbara experts weigh in on Presidential pull-out from Paris Accord

Here in California, it is full-steam ahead when it comes to shrinking our carbon footprint, despite President Trump’s pull-out from the Paris Accord.

Experts say there are two key forces at play: a grassroots effort at the local level, and the Golden State’s high-end tech industry.

“A lot of this is really economics,” said Sangwon Suh, an industrial ecology professor at Bren School of Environmental Science and Management at University of California Santa Barbara.

Suh calls the President’s decision “demoralizing and disappointing,” but is otherwise unphased.

“Environmental stewardships will not be something the government should drive,” Suh said. “I think it will naturally come as our technology evolves and awareness increases and I think we are getting there.”

Suh credits grassroot efforts, investors and our high-end tech companies for reducing California’s carbon footprint for decades, and without any federal regulations.

“Microsolft from 2012 went carbon netural,” Suh said. “Google, by the end of the is year, they will stay 100% renewable for powering their data center and their operations.”

Suh points out that the going renewable energy means huge savings, as opposed to the average grid mix.

“10 years ago we were talking about $1,000 per kilowatt tower storage,” Suh said. “We’re now talking about $200.”

NewsChannel 3 talked to Senator Hannah-Beth Jackson about her take on the recent turn of events.

“California is saying ‘NO!’ We are not going backwards,” Jackson told NewsChannel 3.

Santa Barbara’s democratic Senator said if the United States won’t take the lead, California will.

“These are the future technologies that provide good-paying jobs for more jobs,” Jackson said.

She cited how alternative energies in California, including solar, have created “half a million jobs,” as opposed to the estimated 80,000 positions created in the coal industry. Jackson calls the President’s decision “bone-headed” and is now pushing to protect science and the scientists behind it, through
SB 51 legislation, which will protect scientists from being threatened or retaliated against as well as preserving the science being worked on.

“Science is not left or right, Republican or Democrat. Science is the facts and we have to work from the facts.”

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