“Clean air and a healthy environment are vital for a strong environment and a healthier future," he said. "So much of North Carolina’s economy relies on protecting our treasured natural resources, and I’m committed to maintaining the quality of the air we breathe for generations to come.”
Brian Powell, communications director at the North Carolina Conservation Network, said while Trump’s decision to pull out of the Paris Climate Agreement is unfortunate, Cooper should be commended for showing leadership on the issue of climate change.
“A healthy environment is crucial to the North Carolina way of life, and it’s refreshing to see the Cooper administration taking common sense steps to protect it," he said. "Transitioning away from fossil fuels makes good economic sense. Clean, renewable energy is a job creator here in North Carolina and across the country.”
Mitch Kokai, senior political analyst at the conservative-leaning John Locke Foundation, said the Trump administration was wise to pull out of the Paris Climate Agreement.
“The deal would have meant all pain for the U.S. and no gain in terms of doing anything useful to address the issue of climate change," he said. "It would have amounted to a lot of government intrusion into the economy for little potential benefit for our environment.”
Kokai said Cooper is trying to send a message that he is an environmental advocate by entering North Carolina into the U.S. Climate Alliance.
“North Carolina on its own — or even in conjunction with a handful of other states — could do nothing that would have a significant impact on the climate," he said. "The notion that North Carolinians using curlicue light bulbs and driving Priuses and taking other steps that we normally hear about in terms of addressing issues like climate change would make a real difference is silly.”
Powell said it is important for the United States to set an example for others.
“Climate change is not a threat looming on the horizon – it’s real, and it’s here," he said. "If we’re not doing everything we can as a global community to work together to fight it, then we’re not doing enough.”