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Renewable energy growth to continue

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump may abandon U.S. pledges to reduce carbon emissions, but global economic realities ensure he is unlikely to reverse the accelerating push to adopt cleaner forms of energy.

Around the world, coal-fired power plants are being shuttered as governments and private companies invest billions in wind turbines and solar farms.

Even in regions of the U.S. where coal is plentiful, electric utilities are increasingly shifting to cheaper, cleaner-burning natural gas. In the absence of federal action to address climate change, some left-leaning states such as California and New York are moving ahead with ambitious clean-energy policies of their own.

Trump said on Twitter late Wednesday he will announce his decision on whether to pull the United States out of the Paris climate accord during a Rose Garden event Thursday afternoon. The Paris accord was negotiated by President Barack Obama in 2015. A White House official told The Associated Press on Wednesday that Trump is expected to withdraw from the deal, though aides cautioned he had not yet made a final decision.

Reports of the impending move by the American president triggered statements of support for the climate accord from scores of world leaders. At a meeting of the G7 in Sicily last week, only Trump refused to reaffirm their nations’ continuing support for the Paris deal, which was signed by nearly 200 countries.

“A U.S. withdrawal from Paris will be a disappointment to the climate community, but it may also embolden other countries to fill the void left by the U.S. and take on a greater leadership role,” said Glen Peters, a Norwegian scientist who tracks global carbon emissions. “The declines in U.S. emissions in the last decade have largely happened without strong climate policies, and a withdrawal from the Paris Agreement may have minimal effect on U.S. emissions but give a hit to international morale.”

Trump, a Republican who has claimed global warming is a hoax, has moved quickly since taking office to delay or block restrictions on burning of fossil fuels enacted by his predecessor that he claims are holding back economic growth. The president has pledged to reverse decades of decline in coal mining, which now accounts for fewer than 75,000 U.S. jobs.

Almost every other industrialized economy in the world is moving in the opposite direction.

On April 30, Germany established a new national record for renewable energy use with 85 percent of all electricity produced in the county coming from renewable sources.

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