2019-03-18 21:56:28 UTC
In Challenge To Trump, 17 Republicans Join Fight Against Global
Seventeen congressional Republicans signed a resolution on
Wednesday vowing to seek "economically viable" ways to stave
off global warming, challenging the stated views of President
Donald Trump, who has called climate change a hoax.
Republicans Elise Stefanik of New York, Carlos Curbelo of
Florida and Ryan Costello of Pennsylvania introduced the
legislation in the U.S. House of Representatives, pledging to
"study and address the causes and effects of measured changes
to our global and regional climates" and seek ways to "balance
human activities" that contribute.
Several Republicans who signed the resolution, which is non-
binding, represent parts of the country most affected. Curbelo
hails from Miami, where streets regularly flood at high tide
due to rising sea levels.
"This issue was regrettably politicized some 20 or so years
ago and we are in the process of taking some of the politics
out, reducing the noise and focusing on the challenge and on
the potential solutions," Curbelo said in a call with
journalists on Tuesday.
A spokesman for the White House declined to comment.
Jay Butera, a congressional liaison for the non-partisan group
the Citizens Climate Lobby, called the resolution "an important
step toward getting both parties focused on finding solutions."
A similar resolution was introduced by Republicans in the
previous Congress, with 17 signing. Some of those lawmakers
lost their re-election bids.
Trump's newly confirmed Environmental Protection Agency
administrator, Scott Pruitt, said in a CNBC interview on
Thursday that he did not believe carbon dioxide was a major
contributor to climate change. The Sierra Club on Tuesday asked
the EPA's inspector general to investigate whether Pruitt
violated agency policy by making the comments.
"The head of the EPA's comments were disconcerting," Curbelo
said. "What he said was akin to saying the earth is flat in
2017. We must insist on evidence-based and science-based
Curbelo said some Trump allies were ready to work on fixing
climate change but he declined to identify them.
The resolution came amid growing concern and confusion over the
way Trump's environmental policies were taking shape. After
calling climate change a hoax and vowing during the 2016
presidential race to pull the United States out of Paris
climate accord if elected, Trump asked energy companies for
advice on whether to indeed withdraw.
And his call on Wednesday for a new review of U.S. vehicle
fuel-efficiency standards put in place under former President
Barack Obama drew criticism from Democrats and environmental
groups who accused him of risking more carbon emissions and
higher fuel costs.
Two sources told Reuters the administration has been contacting
U.S. energy companies about the climate agreement and would
consider their input in making a decision on it shortly.
An overwhelming majority of scientists say human activity -
including the burning of oil, gas and coal - is the main driver
of rising global temperatures. Most Republicans either dispute
that or disagree that it is an urgent problem.
Melinda Pierce, the Sierra Club's legislative director, said
her group would keep an eye on how Republicans who signed the
resolution voted on more impactful legislation.
"We've seen that many of the Republicans sponsoring this
resolution have voted against climate action in the past, so
their real commitment will be measured by how they vote on
legislation that undermines climate progress or promotes fossil
fuel projects moving forward," she said.