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Energy & Environment

Pelosi Tells U.N. Climate Summit That U.S. Is ‘Still in’ Paris Climate Agreement

U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi arrives to hold a news conference during the U.N. climate change conference (COP25) in Madrid, Spain, December 2, 2019. (Sergio Perez/Reuters)

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi asserted Monday at a United Nations climate summit that the U.S. is “still in” the climate change agreement the Trump administration pulled out of last month.

“By coming here we want to say to everyone we are still in,” Pelosi said at a press conference during the United Nations summit in Madrid. “The United States is still in.”

“Our delegation is here to send a message that Congress’s commitment to take action on the climate crisis is iron clad,” the speaker added.

The administration last month began its formal withdrawal from the 2015 Paris Agreement, over two years after President Trump announced his intention to do so. Trump has criticized the non-binding agreement, signed by 195 countries, saying other countries would benefit from the climate accord while the U.S. economy suffers. Wealthier countries such as the U.S. had pledged to assist financially struggling countries meet their greenhouse-gas emissions-reduction goals.

“What we won’t do is punish the American people while enriching foreign polluters,” Trump said in October.

The goal of the climate accord was to keep global warming to just 1.5 degrees Celsius over this century. The U.S. pledged to lower its greenhouse-gas emissions by about a quarter by 2025, as measured by 2005 levels.

The earliest the administration is allowed to extricate the U.S. from the agreement is November 4, 2020, one day after the next presidential election.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo assured last month that despite the withdrawal, the U.S. will “continue to work with our global partners to enhance resilience to the impacts of climate change.”

Pelosi said she was attending the summit even as impeachment proceedings against Trump are underway in the House in order to emphasize how seriously Democrats acknowledge climate change as an “existential threat to humanity.”

Progressive Democrats have embraced the sweeping Green New Deal to combat climate change, a plan opposed by more moderate members of the party, who have proposed a less aggressive approach with a longer timeline to achieve net-zero carbon emissions.

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