ST. PETERSBURG -- The U.S. House of Representatives passed H.R. 9 “The Climate Action Now” Act yesterday by a margin of 231 to 190. This climate bill, the first to receive a vote by the body in a decade, would keep the United States in the Paris Agreement by defunding any effort to withdraw and requiring the Trump administration to submit a plan to meet the U.S. commitment to reduce carbon emissions below 2005 levels by 26 percent to 28 percent by 2032.
“H.R. 9 is a first, important step,” said Rep. Frank Pallone, chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee. “Please – I call on my colleagues – let’s take it. Let’s take this opportunity to prevent withdraw from the Paris Agreement, and at the same time, call upon this Administration to come up with ways to achieve our commitments under that Agreement.”
Co-sponsored by 224 members of Congress, the bill is an important measure in cutting global warming pollution. Concerted global action is necessary ‘to combat climate change and to accelerate and intensify the actions and investments needed for a sustainable low carbon future,’ according to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.
“Climate change is a national security threat that transcends borders and requires international coordination,” Rep. Eliot Engel, chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee. “That’s why it’s so critical that we work shoulder-to-shoulder with our friends and partners around the world.”
“This is a time for hope, this is a time for solutions, this time for us to come together – all generations, all political persuasions – for action to combat the climate crisis,” Rep. Kathy Castor, chairwoman of House Select Committee on the Climate Crisis. “So let’s start climate action in this Congress with this bill.”
Jennifer Rubiello, state director of Environment Florida, issued the following statement:
“We applaud Florida’s national leaders who are taking the existential risks of global warming seriously by voting ‘yes’ on this bill, including U.S. Representative Vern Buchanan (R-Sarasota) and the Democratic members of Florida’s Congressional delegation. We especially commend U.S. Representative Kathy Castor (D-Tampa) for championing this legislation.
“Americans have been waiting a decade for congressional action on the climate crisis, and we have no more time to waste. Florida’s communities from the Panhandle to the Keys are threatened by sea level rise, extreme weather, and many other impacts. If we continue business as usual, Congress places our national security, food and water security, businesses, homes, health and families in harm’s way.
“This bill is a key step in ratcheting down carbon pollution from the burning of dangerous fossil fuels -- oil, natural gas and coal -- as quickly as possible. By renewing our commitment to the international climate agreement, we recognize that while the risks are great, the opportunity to give our children and grandkids a stable climate and the healthy future they deserves exists, and we can be part of the solution.
“We now call on the Senate to reaffirm this commitment with another ‘yes’ vote. As for the President, we strongly encourage him to reconsider his position on this issue in order to assure that the United States takes its rightful place as a world leader on climate solutions.“
Environment Florida is a statewide, citizen-based environmental advocacy organization working for a cleaner, greener, healthier future.