WASHINGTON, D.C. – Yesterday, U.S. Senators Tom Carper (D-Del.), top Democrat on the Environment and Public Works Committee (EPW), Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.) and Bob Menendez (D-N.J.) introduced legislation in the Senate with a group of 43 senators directing the Trump administration to meet the standards established by the historic Paris Climate Agreement and to mitigate the long-term damage caused by the administration’s anti-environment policy decisions. Almost exactly two years ago, President Trump announced his decision to pull the U.S. out of this important global pact.
The International Climate Accountability Act would prevent the President from using funds to withdraw from the Paris Climate Accord. Instead, the bill directs the administration to develop a strategic plan for the country to meet its commitment under the Paris Climate Agreement, which the United States joined with nearly 200 other nations in 2015. The bill also makes clear that the Paris Climate Agreement is critical to strengthening international cooperation to reduce global greenhouse emissions and hold high-emission nations accountable, and recognizes the important role the Agreement plays in protecting and advancing U.S. economic and foreign policy interests around the globe.
Congresswoman Kathy Castor (FL-14) introduced companion legislation, which passed the House of Representatives last month.
“Two years ago, when President Trump withdrew from the historic Paris climate accords, the world watched as America shrunk in the face of the world’s greatest environmental challenge,” said Senator Carper. “When America speaks, the world listens. We cannot allow an administration controlled by climate science deniers to speak for the American people, the vast majority of whom want our country to act boldly to address climate change. By rejoining the nations of the world in the Paris Climate Accord, we can restore America’s leadership and propel greater collective action to address this global crisis. Low-lying states like Delaware need real progress on meaningful emissions reductions and, as a country, we should seize the economic opportunity that comes with leading the charge. I’m proud to join Senators Shaheen and Menendez on this important effort.”
“Warming temperatures, rising seas and extreme weather are taking a significant toll on our communities, with immediate threats to public safety and long-term implications for our wildlife, environment and the vitality of our economy,” said Senator Shaheen. “The President’s decision to withdraw the United States from the historic Paris Climate Agreement, coupled with his administration’s relentless efforts to unravel protections that safeguard our air, water and land, relinquishes our nation’s global leadership on climate change. We’re feeling the effects in New Hampshire with rising temperatures that threaten seacoast flooding, our moose population, foliage season and maple industry, and we’re seeing similar repercussions in areas throughout the country and world. Climate change is real, it is here and it is time for Congress to act if the President will not.”
“President Trump’s abdication of leadership in rejecting climate science and ceding advantage in the clean energy economy has increased global risk and seriously disadvantaged U.S. economic and environmental interests,” said Senator Menendez, top Democrat on the Foreign Relations Committee. “With the foreign relations and national security implications of failing to address the threat of climate change quickly growing, this legislation mitigates the implications of unilaterally withdrawing the U.S. from the Paris Agreement. And while the President has failed to keep his promise of seeking a better deal on the Paris Accord, this legislation provides a serious policy framework for reclaiming U.S. leadership in preserving our planet and protecting future generations.”
The International Climate Accountability Act is also cosponsored by Senators Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), Maggie Hassan (D-N.H.), Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), Kamala Harris (D-Calif.), Ed Markey (D-Mass.), Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.), Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), Tina Smith (D-Minn.), Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), Cory Booker (D-N.J.), Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii), Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Jack Reed (D-R.I.), Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii), Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.), Chris Coons (D-Del.), Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.), Tim Kaine (D-Va.), Patty Murray (D-Wash.), Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), Tom Udall (D-N.M.), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), Angus King (I-Maine), Ben Cardin (D-Md.), Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), Jacky Rosen (D-Nev.), Bob Casey (D-Pa.), Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nev.), Chris Murphy (D-Conn.), Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.), Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.), Michael Bennet (D-Colo.), Gary Peters (D-Mich.), Jon Tester (D-Mont.), Doug Jones (D-Ala.) and Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.).
The legislation has been endorsed by the Center for American Progress, BlueGreen Alliance, Earthjustice, Environment America, Environmental Defense Fund, League of Conservation Voters, National Wildlife Federation, Natural Resources Defense Council, Sierra Club, Union of Concerned Sciences and additional organizations listed here in a letter of support.
Text of the legislation can be found here.