Representative Eliot L. Engel, Chairman of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, today delivered the following remarks on the House floor in support of H.R.9, the Climate Action Now Act:
“I shouldn’t need to persuade anyone in this chamber that we desperately need to take serious action on climate change. Just look at the news. We are already seeing the consequences of our inaction—natural disasters, famine, instability, human suffering. The time for action to avoid the worst effects of climate change is rapidly closing. We must demonstrate to the rest of the world and to future generations that we’re still committed to taking on this fight.
“Climate change is a national security threat that transcends borders and requires international coordination. That’s why it’s so critical that we work shoulder-to-shoulder with our friends and partners around the world. The negotiation of the Paris Agreement was a defining moment for the future of our planet. For the first time, the countries of the world came together to face this global crisis.
“At challenging times like these, the international community usually looks to the United States for leadership. So when President Trump announced his intention to withdraw from this landmark agreement, it sent an unmistakable message that America is on the retreat. It is really just shameful.
“Every nation in the world has now signed on to the Paris Agreement. If we withdraw, we will be the only country unwilling to step up to this challenge.
“We can—we must—do better.
“The Climate Action Now Act keeps the United States in the Paris Climate Accord, renewing our country’s pledge to address climate change head-on.
“The Paris Agreement allows every country to determine its own pollution-reduction targets, and to develop a public plan for how to meet those targets. This bill follows that same model – it gives the executive branch total flexibility to decide what approach we need to follow and what kind of technology we need to use to reach our national targets.
“H.R. 9 gives us all an opportunity to show Americans that we hear them, that we take their concerns seriously, and that we are addressing this danger that is hurting their health and safety.
“It’s time for Congress to put our country back on the right path to address the climate change crisis facing the world.”