Houston Impact from Trump's Paris Agreement Decision

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On Thursday, President Donald Trump announced the United States would be exiting the Paris Agreement – an global climate pact that includes all but two nations.

Despite the President’s decision, Rice Associate Professor of Environmental Engineering Daniel Cohan feels the momentum in Houston for clean energy is safe.

"Those innovators are going to keep acting whether we are in the Paris Agreement or not,” said Cohan.

The United States Department of Energy lists Texas as the nation's leader in wind powered energy. The Solar Energy Association says Texas is number nine in solar.

"The path is going to be determined more by cities, states and business rather than what happens in Washington. That's been the case before and that's the case today as well, said Cohan. “Houston will continue to lead, this will just be a setback in terms of being part of the global move.”

Hours after the President's announcement, Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner announced his commitment to honor the Paris Agreement's goals here in Houston.

"There is a lot of solar energy being installed in Houston and that's not going to stop,” said Cal Morton of Texas Solar Outfitters, expressing no concern after the President's announcement.

Morton says his customers see solar as a financial tool, using the example of IKEA. “[They] have 5,000 solar panels on their roof in town. Why? Because they want to control a very big expense.”

Morton says he's already seeing a benefit from the President's move.

"We had more people hitting our website,” said Morton. “We had a couple people call up starting at around 2 o’clock, and I think they were just mad. I think there are people who are already thinking about solar anyway but now it's like, I want to do what I can do personally."

President Trump did say he'd re-enter the agreement on newly negotiated terms. Meanwhile, oil and gas giants ExxonMobile and BP reiterated their support for the Paris Agreement in separate statements Thursday. 

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