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Climate expert reacts to President Trump's decision to withdraw from Paris agreement

A local climate change expert is expressing concern after Trump's decision

BLACKSBURG, Va. – Carol Franco has spent years studying climate change and even attended the signing of the Paris Climate Accord in December of 2015 with her home country, the Dominican Republic. President Trump's decision to withdraw from the agreement has her concerned.

“After so many years of trying to have a climate agreement that would include both developed and developing countries, we finally did it. We finally got to the point that developed and developing countries were on the same page to fight climate change,” says Franco, a senior research associate at Virginia Tech.

Franco's fear is that the United States abandoning the agreement, with 195 countries committed to it, will send a message to those countries that America does not value international quality of life.

“The United States was pivotal in getting this agreement to happen in Paris, they worked really hard just like the rest of the countries to make it happen. We all trust when you have an international agreement that everyone is going to fulfill the commitments and pledges. The commitment of the United States was a 28 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emission,” says Franco.

In her career, Franco relies on science. She says the agreement was the first step toward an international lowering of carbon emissions and the ripple effect, keeping the global temperature low.  

“What does the science tell us? And how can we use that science to guide our policy, and that's what the negotiations are all about. How can we use the best available science to guide policy in order to protect the planet and protect ourselves from it?” says Franco.

The presidential decision has climate change activists hoping for the best but preparing for the worst.

“Let’s talk about sustainability. I mean, we need to think about our kids, our grandkids, our great-grandkids and what are we going to leave them as a world for them,” says Franco.