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Letter: Paris Agreement withdrawal draws concerns

June 9, 2017
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Editor:

As an architect, one of my key goals is designing sustainable buildings for current and future generations who will live and work in the structures I’ve created. A sustainable and resilient-built environment is one of the best solutions we have to combat the effects of climate change.

That’s why I’m so concerned about President Donald Trump’s decision to withdraw the United States from the Paris Agreement. One hundred and ninety-five countries — including the U.S. — adopted the first-ever universal climate deal in 2015 that sets out a global action plan to put the world on track to avoid dangerous climate change.

Architects have a unique role to play in achieving the agreement’s goals. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, buildings are responsible for 73 percent of all electricity consumption in the U.S., with about half of that coming from commercial buildings. American architects are focused on designing buildings that are energy efficient and, in some cases, nearly carbon neutral. We have worked hand-in-hand with the federal government to help make our profession and country competitive global leaders in the quest for an energy-efficient-built environment.

Withdrawing from the Paris climate agreement is a major step back for America’s global leadership in sustainable design.

Andrew J. Queenan
Architect
Grand Rapids

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