Trump move unlikely to stop ‘green’ business trend


President Donald Trump’s decision to start backing out of the Paris climate pact drew outrage from environmentalists and the alternative energy industry, but some business experts said it may be hard to see local effects.

Trump’s move is based in “ideology and not science,” said James Marlow, president and co-founder of Radiance Solar, an Atlanta-based company that installs big solar power projects for commercial and electric utility customers. “They’re working against innovation and jobs and it’s bad for America.”

Trump’s move is a “climate-denial stunt” that will hurt alternative energy workers, at least temporarily, said Frank Rambo, of the Southern Environmental Law Center, an advocacy group.

“There are more Southerners working in solar energy now than there are miners digging coal,” said Rambo. “The President’s skewed views are a short-term setback for the thousands of renewable-energy workers supporting their families, but they can’t derail this nation’s energy future.”

The Paris pact is largely non-binding on the nearly 200 nations that signed it. The United States wasn’t expected to meet its pollution-cutting goals by the pact’s 2025 deadline, partly because of the challenges to getting big reductions in carbon dioxide emissions from autos, utility plants and other industries.

“We don’t want to overstate what getting out of the Paris accords would mean,” said Roger Tutterow, an economist at Kennesaw State University.

Tutterow said some industries that would get the most relief from the policy reversal — coal mining and oil producers — are bit players in Georgia.

Others that could be affected, like electric utilities, have been phasing out coal-fired power plants for several years, he added, after prices for natural gas, a cleaner-burning competing fuel, plunged.

The bulk of investment in recent years by Georgia Power and its parent, Southern Company, have been in its Vogtle nuclear plant, natural gas operations, and solar and wind energy projects.

Meanwhile, big companies are likely to continue with “go green” efforts anyway because of pressure from customers, said Tutterow.

Southern Company said it plans to keep investing in power plants that don’t produce green house gases.

“Southern Company will continue its commitment to a leadership role in finding environmental solutions that make technological and economic sense,” spokesman Schuyler Baehman said. “The focus of this effort must be on developing and deploying technologies that reduce (green house gases) while ensuring energy remains reliable and affordable.”

One former Georgia business leader, Home Depot co-founder Bernie Marcus, said he favored exiting the agreement to keep business’ energy costs down. But his former company said it will still look for ways to reduce its impact on the environment.

“Regardless of the decision, we’ll continue to push forward with our environmental and sustainability efforts, which began long before the accord,” Home Depot spokesman Stephen Holmes said.

Michael E. Kanell contributed to this report.



Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Business

Equifax: Five things you should know about the raid on your data
Equifax: Five things you should know about the raid on your data

Atlanta-based Equifax Corp. and consumers whose credit it tracks have continued to struggle with the fallout from a data breach that affected 143 million people in the United States, and more in other nations. Here are five things you should know about the hacking incident — one of the worst so far — and how it affects you. 1. Protect yourself...
Gwinnett solar firm wins U.S. support for charges of unfair trade
Gwinnett solar firm wins U.S. support for charges of unfair trade

The U.S. International Trade Commission on Friday sided with a bankrupt Gwinnett company’s complaint that America is being flooded with cheap imported solar cells, setting up a potential trade battle with China or other countries that export solar panels. Norcross-based Suniva said it was “gratified” by the trade commission&rsquo...
Gwinnett solar firm wins U.S. support for charges of unfair trade
Gwinnett solar firm wins U.S. support for charges of unfair trade

The U.S. International Trade Commission on Friday agreed with a bankrupt Gwinnett company’s complaint that America is being flooded with cheap imported solar cells, setting up a potential trade battle with China or other countries that export solar panels. Norcross-based Suniva said it was “gratified” by the trade commission&rsquo...
Death Wish coffee recalled over botulism concerns
Death Wish coffee recalled over botulism concerns

Death Wish Coffee Company, a New York-based coffee producer that advertises itself as maker of the “world’s strongest coffee,” is recalling some of its products over concerns that it could become tainted with the deadly botulin toxin. Officials with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration said in a notice issued Tuesday that 11-ounce...
Equifax apologizes for sending people to fake company website
Equifax apologizes for sending people to fake company website

Equifax linked people to a fake online site that mimicked the link for its site on its massive Sept. 7 security breach that affected 143 million Americans. After the breach, which involved Social Security numbers and other key identifying information, Equifax set up a site, equifaxsecurity2017.com, that directed people to information on the hacking...
More Stories