Abigail Spanberger Cosponsors New Climate Change Legislation

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H.R. 9, the Climate Action Now Act

by Brandon Jarvis

Democrats introduced a bill on Thursday with a more direct approach to climate change legislation. With the Green New Deal losing momentum earlier this week, Representatives are pushing for more direct and obtainable goals that still fall under the Green New Deal umbrella of ideals.

Specifically, The Climate Action Now Act would require the administration to remain in the Paris Climate Accord, and it would also push the Trump administration to develop an evidence-based plan for how the United States can best meet its commitment in the Accord.

In 2017, President Trump formally announced that the United States would be withdrawing from the Paris Climate Accord. This decision removed the United States from the agreement that nearly every country signed in order to work together to reduce pollution levels and curb global warming.

Knowing it will likely die in the Senate, H.9. is an attempt by the Democrats to force the President to adress climate change. “Despite what President Trump has said, America cannot and will not retreat.” said Rep. Kathy Castor, the Florida Democrat who introduced the bill. “It was with America’s leadership and engagement that so many nations committed to climate action in the international Paris Agreement. 

The bill, which is cosponsored by Virginia Rep. Abigail Spanberger (D), would prohibit any federal funds from being used to the withdrawal of the United States from the landmark Paris Agreement. Additionally, it calls on the President to develop and make public a plan for how the United States will meet our commitment to reduce pollution.

Spanberger wants the President to reconsider his decision for the sake of giving the United States a voice in this discussion. “The United States cannot afford to stage a diplomatic retreat from the worldwide fight against climate change.” said Spanberger. “Our leadership on this issue is vital to preventing ecological catastrophe, and if we’re not at the negotiating table, we won’t have any say in how the Paris Climate Accord is enforced,” 

H.R. 9 is a step towards achieving a tangible goal in climate change.

“We can create millions of good-paying clean energy jobs right now,” Castor continued.  “We can save billions of dollars in energy costs for working people right now.  We can finally address decades of environmental injustice right now.  And we can respond to the incredible groundswell of activism from young people who are demanding climate action now as well.  They are the first generation to grow up in the climate crisis.  Now they are demanding the chance to be the generation that solves it.”

Rep. Spanberger, who formerly served as a C.I.A. officer, insists that climate change is a national security threat to our country. “The President’s unilateral declaration to withdraw the United States from the agreement was misguided, and it showed a refusal to take the climate crisis seriously.” said Spanberger. “This legislation pushes back by showing that the United States remains obligated to upholding our environmental commitments with our allies. Combatting climate change is a national security imperative, and I’m proud to help introduce legislation that recognizes the need to assert our country’s diplomatic, military, and economic strength as assets in building a more sustainable future.”

With the two parties at odds over the entire discussion, the Senate Republicans have the ability to stop anything the Democrats get through the House. Even if it passed the Senate, the President has actively argued the existence of climate change. He has on multiple occasions mocked the climate change conversation when parts of the country are experiencing extremely low temperatures in winter.

“Speaking as a Floridian who boarded up and fled my home with my family as Hurricane Irma spun its destructive winds and storm surge towards my hometown a year and a half ago, I understand we must act with urgency on the climate crisis,” U.S. Rep. Castor concluded.  

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