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MITEI Director Robert Armstrong: Paris Agreement withdrawal constrains U.S. energy innovation leadership and global influence

Armstrong urges continued federal budget support for research that advances low-carbon energy technologies

June 2, 2017 MITEI

In response to the Trump Administration’s announcement that the U.S. will exit the Paris Agreement, the MIT Energy Initiative issued the following statement from MITEI Director Robert Armstrong:

“The Trump Administration’s decision to exit the Paris Agreement needlessly constrains U.S. leadership and constructive global influence in a world that clearly recognizes the pressing dangers of global climate change and that is committed to reducing greenhouse gas emissions and mitigating climate impacts. Coupled with the latest budget, which eliminates or slashes funding for many of the programs that have made U.S. innovation in energy technologies and corresponding domestic industry growth possible, this decision goes against the fact-based advice of an overwhelming number of scientists, policymakers, and leaders of the business community—including oil and gas executives and other energy leaders—to remain in the Agreement.

The Paris Agreement represented an enormous step forward with the essentially unanimous global commitment to address climate change. Despite U.S. withdrawal, the Paris Agreement will continue to spur growth in clean energy innovation globally—resulting in falling clean energy costs and major emissions reductions.

As a professor of chemical engineering at MIT and the director the MIT Energy Initiative, I have witnessed firsthand the importance of public research funding in enabling energy breakthroughs—from new kinds of batteries for large-scale energy storage to cutting-edge solar technologies—and in supporting analyses of how best to integrate these technologies into the electric power system to reap economic and environmental benefits. I urge Congress to uphold vital funding for investments in basic science, research and development of low-carbon energy technologies, and energy efficiency programs that will allow the U.S. to continue to advance our global leadership in these crucial areas, regardless of whether we remain in the Paris Agreement.”

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