Tempe USG urges Doug Ducey to support Paris Agreement

Tempe USG votes to push Governor Ducey to sign the "We are still in" declaration

The Tempe Undergraduate Student Government voted to send a letter urging Arizona Governor Doug Ducey to sign the "We are still in" declaration and join the U.S. Climate Alliance during their first meeting of the semester.

Last June, President Donald Trump announced his decision to withdraw the United States from the Paris Agreement. The agreement is a list of carbon emission reduction goals from each participating country, though it gives a fair amount of leeway to its member nations for how they set their goals. 

According to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, 173 countries have signed the Paris Agreement, making the U.S. one of the nations that hasn't ratified the agreement. The "We are still in" group is comprised of more than 2,500 American business, scientific and political leaders who want to uphold the Paris Agreement. Signatories include Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton and ASU President Michael Crow, who has prioritized making the University sustainable.

Crow's support was mentioned in Tuesday's USG meeting as part of the view that as members of a public university, the ASU community should be leading the charge to urge lawmakers to act.

USG senator and computer science sophomore Joseph Briones presented the bill, and said that the "state of Arizona should not be left behind in the accelerated transition to local clean energy economy."

The bill was initially passed in the Graduate and Professional Student Association and then passed down to the sustainability director for Tempe USG, sustainability senior Logan Miller, who then presented it to the USG senate. Miller said it's important that ASU community addresses climate change and urges state leaders to act. 

"So by signing on to the Paris Accord, Doug Ducey would help poise Arizona to take a leading role in the fight against climate change," Miller said.

Senator Elyse Kats, a sustainability sophomore, also advocated for the bill. Kats said that the bill is important not from a political standpoint but from genuine concern for the environment.

"As we are a non-partisan body that represents all of the students, we should definitely reaffirm this bill because of what it stands for," Kats said.

Although the majority of USGT favored the bill, there were some that strongly opposed it, such as Senator Ryan Magel, political science junior, who said staying in the accord would put the U.S. at an economic disadvantage.

"I do believe that (the Paris Agreement) is bad for the United States," Magel said. "I'm not a climate change denier, but I think economically speaking as well as legislatively, it would be bad for the United States."

Yet the bill passed with a 17-1-0 vote, putting the ball in Doug Ducey's court. 

"It's on him. We are urging him. And now it's his action to take," Briones said. 

Reach the reporter at cmgiulia@asu.edu or follow @tinamaria_4 on Twitter.

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