House of Representatives Takes A Stand On Paris Agreement

Photo: Speaker of the House’s Office via Union of Concerned Scientists

Yesterday the House of Representatives voted to demand that the Trump Administration re-commit the United States to the Paris Climate Agreement.  Only three Republican Members of Congress crossed over to vote with the Democrats who all supported the measure.  The New York Times noted that the bill was the first big global warming legislation to win approval in the House in almost 10 years, but, unfortunately, it is dead on arrival in the Senate with no chance of even coming up, much less passing in the Republican-controlled chamber. The bill, which was sponsored by Rep. Kathy Castor who chairs the House Select Committee on the Climate Crisis, is called the Climate Action Now Act and it would:

  • prohibit any federal funds from being used to advance the withdrawal of the United States from the Paris Agreement on climate change; and
  • require the president to develop and submit to Congress a plan for how the U.S. will achieve its pledge under the Agreement to reduce its emissions of greenhouse gases by 26 to 28 percent below 2005 levels by 2025.

During the debate, according to The Times, Representative Steve Scalise of Louisiana, the second-ranking Republican in the House, said the agreement would send American jobs to China and India, which he incorrectly described as being “exempt” from the deal.

This comes as the most recent poll of registered Democrats found that climate change is their top issue — even more important to them than universal health care.  In the poll, conducted by CNN, The Hill reported that “82 percent of registered voters who identified as Democrats or Democratic-leaning independents listed climate change as a ‘very important’ top priority they’d like to see get the focus of a presidential candidate.”  And the Sunrise Movement is holding a speaking tour across the country to rally support for the Green New Deal.  It began two weeks ago, and there are upcoming stops in Philadelphia (5/4), New Orleans (5/7), Frankfort, Kentucky (5/11), Washington, D.C. (5/13),  and Chicago (5/18).

Why This Matters: It has been a big week for the climate change movement in the U.S.  It started with a top tier Presidential candidate, Beto O’Rourke, making a major policy announcement on climate change. Then the second largest city, Los Angeles, and one of the largest states in the nation, New York, announced they are working to pass Green New Deal legislation at the local and state levels.  Then the Democratic-controlled House of Representatives voted to keep the U.S. in the Paris Agreement on climate change. In addition, in a meeting with the President, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer demanded that any infrastructure bill include green infrastructure to deal with climate change. The Sunrise Movement is taking their campaign to the people across the country and is keeping the pressure on for a Green New Deal.  And a major poll revealed that Democrats rank climate change as the top issue in this election.  Just let that sink in.  Wow.

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