Politics & Policy

Cruz Accuses Biden of Prioritizing Foreigners over Americans by Rejoining Paris Climate Accord

Senator Ted Cruz speaks during a Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee confirmation hearing in Washington, D.C., January 21, 2021. (Stefani Reynolds/Reuters)

Senator Ted Cruz (R., Texas) on Wednesday criticized President Joe Biden’s decision to rejoin the Paris climate agreement, accusing the Democrat of being “more interested in the views of the citizens of Paris than in the jobs of the citizens of Pittsburgh.”

Biden rejoined the 197-nation deal in an executive order on his first day in office after former President Trump had withdrawn from the agreement in 2017. A number of Republicans have said that the deal results in the U.S. reducing emissions to the benefit of foreign nations.

“This agreement will do little to affect the climate and will harm the livelihoods of Americans,” Cruz said on Twitter. “ I’ll continue working with my colleagues to fight for blue-collar workers and to defend America’s energy independence.”

Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D., N.Y.), a vocal climate activist, pushed back against Cruz’s comments, joining a chorus of voices online that noted that the name of the agreement comes from the city in which it was signed, rather than the citizens it is meant to help.

“Nice tweet Sen. Cruz! Quick question: do you also believe the Geneva Convention was about the views of the citizens of Geneva?” Ocasio-Cortez wrote on Twitter.

“Asking for everyone who believes US Senators should be competent and not undermine our elections to incite insurrection against the United States,” she said, referencing Cruz’s decision to object to Electoral College votes, furthering Trump’s allegations that the election had been rife with widespread voter fraud, leading his supporters to storm the U.S. Capitol on January 6.

The deal aims to keep the increase in global average temperature to well below 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit above pre-industrial levels, and to work towards limiting the increase to 2.7 degrees Fahrenheit. However, there are no enforcement mechanisms in place to hold countries accountable. Thus far no signatory has met the required threshold.

Some experts have warned the agreement does not go far enough: the United Nations Environment Programme cautioned that the targets set out by the accord would still allow temperatures to increase by 5.7 degrees Fahrenheit by the conclusion of the century.

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