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Congressman Davis: There Are Other Ways To Lead Than Staying In Paris Accords

Merlin Mather

U.S. Representative Rodney Davis said the U.S. can still be a climate change leader without the Paris accords.

Critics of the idea of pulling out of the accords on limiting global emissions say they U.S. needs to be engaged with the international community on the issue.

Davis said the U.S. will be part of the conversation no matter its participation in the agreement because of the size of its economy.Davis said this country has already done a lot through greater fuel efficiency.

As protestors held signs outside Davis' office in Uptown Normal criticizing his stances on healthcare and the environment, Davis said many countries have not done as much to limit emissions of carbon dioxide as the U.S. and this country should assist in technology transfers to help change that.

Supporters of the Paris Accords claim with the U.S. exit, it will be easier for other countries to exit or to backpedal.

Davis said the U.S. will be part of the conversation no matter its participation in the agreement because of the size of its economy.

Davis also said he continues to support coal and all forms of energy needed to assure a strong manufacturing base and economic growth.

He said his district has three coal fired generating stations that involve hundreds of jobs.

 "And to those who say coal plants should be converted to natural gas, I ask what is your position on fracking? Because without fracking there can be no steady supply of low cost natural gas," said Davis.

Davis said he favors an 'all of the above' energy portfolio. He pointed to Germany's embrace of natural gas.

"And now Germany has become dependent on Russia with Vladimir Putin becoming something of a natural gass sugar daddy. I would think long and hard before putting this country in that position," said Davis.

Davis said he does not think a U.S. pullout from the Paris climate accords will be significant.

Critics of the idea said it will jeopardize global participation in the effort to keep the planet from warming to a catastrophic degree.

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WGLT Senior Reporter Charlie Schlenker has spent more than three award-winning decades in radio. He lives in Normal with his family.