Washington, DC—Today, Representative John Curtis (R-UT), member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, released the following statement after voting against HR 9: Climate Action Now Act. 

“House Democrats had an opportunity to work with Republicans on a path towards addressing growing international environmental issues, but instead opted toward politicizing the issue and refusing to work with Republicans toward a bipartisan solution that could be signed into law,” said Curtis. “Twice, I offered a good-faith amendment that would bring transparency to the emissions produced by all countries in the agreement, including foreign heavy polluters like China—both times it was shot down on a partisan basis. I want to ensure our efforts actually improve the environment, avoid damaging our economy, and are based on facts, not politics.”

The Congressman’s proposed amendment to HR 9 was voted down during the “Foreign Assistance Budget and Policy Priorities” House Foreign Affairs hearing last month. Only 3 Republican amendments were considered compared to the 26 Democrat amendments that were debated. To watch Rep. Curtis’ amendment proposal, click [HERE]

Yesterday, Rep. Curtis spoke on the House floor to outline his concerns about the costs and effectiveness of the legislation, the potential job losses in rural America, the United States innovation and technological development that have resulted in the US already leading the world in reducing greenhouse gas, and his frustration that China—the earth’s largest greenhouse gas polluter—is shown leniency. Click [HERE] for full text of the speech.

Background

  • President Obama formally accepted the Paris Agreement, under the United Nations climate change treaty, in late August 2016. President Trump announced less than ten months later, in June 2017, that the United States would withdraw—following the terms of the agreement. 
  • The Obama Administration unilaterally entered into the Paris Agreement, made promises that would be difficult and costly to keep, and implemented controversial regulatory actions such as the Clean Power Plan and other measures to compel the economy-wide reduction in emissions—regardless of cost to consumers and ratepayers. 
  • The commitments that President Obama agreed to could cost the US $250 billion and 2.7 million jobs by 2025; by 2040, these commitments could cost the US $3 trillion and 6.5 million jobs.
  • HR 9, the Climate Action Now Act, prevents the President from withdrawing from the Paris Agreement and essentially requires that the President follow the Obama Administration’s expensive commitments to decarbonize the economy under the Paris Agreement. 
  • The Climate Action Tracker, found that the participating nations’ commitments will not meet the temperature goals in the Paris Agreement. 
  • The European Climate Action Network, reported last summer that all European Union countries are off target: No single country in Europe is performing sufficiently to meet Paris Agreement goals. And those that have been making the most progress on their promises, did not make large commitments in the first place. 
  • The United Nations Emissions Gap Report, released in November 2018, assessed the situation and reported that all these countries will have to at least triple their efforts to meet the Paris Agreement’s basic goals—if not increase their goals five-fold to meet more stringent temperature targets, regardless of the economic impacts. 
  • The United States is leading the world in reducing greenhouse gas emissions through innovation and technological development. Between 2000 and 2014, the US reduced emissions more than 18%. 
  • According to the International Energy Agency (IEA) in their Global Energy & CO2 Status Report: “In the United States, the emission reductions seen in 2017 were reversed, with an increase of 3.1% in CO2 emissions in 2018. Despite this increase, emissions in the United States remain around their 1990 levels, 14% and 800 Mt of CO2 below their peak in 2000. This is the largest absolute decline among all countries since 2000.” 
  • China is the largest emitter of greenhouse gases in the world and under the Paris Agreement did not pledge to cut emissions until 2030.

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