In defiance of Trump, 17 Republicans join the fight against global warming

© Reuters. A woman walks past a map showing sea elevation over the past 22 years during the 2015 World Climate Change Conference in Le Bourget.

By Emily Flitter

NEW YORK (Reuters) – Seventeen Republican congressmen signed a resolution Wednesday promising to seek “economically viable” ways to prevent global warming, challenging the outspoken views of President Donald Trump, who has called climate change a hoax.

Republicans Elise Stefanik of New York, Carlos Curbelo of Florida and Ryan Costello of Pennsylvania introduced the legislation in the US House of Representatives and pledged to “study and address the causes and effects of measured changes in our global climate. and regional “and look for ways to” Balance human activities “that contribute.

Several Republicans who signed the resolution, which is not binding, represent the parts of the country most affected. Curbelo hails from Miami, where the streets regularly flood at high tide due to rising sea levels.

“Unfortunately, this issue became politicized about 20 years ago and we are in the process of eliminating some of the politics, reducing the noise and focusing on the challenge and possible solutions,” Curbelo said in a call with reporters Tuesday. .

A White House spokesman declined to comment.

Jay Butera, a congressional liaison for the nonpartisan group Citizens Climate Lobby, called the resolution “an important step for both parties to focus on finding solutions.”

Republicans presented a similar resolution in the previous Congress, with 17 signatories. Some of those lawmakers lost their re-election offers.

The newly confirmed administrator of Trump’s Environmental Protection Agency, Scott Pruitt, said in an interview with CNBC on Thursday that he did not believe carbon dioxide was a major contributor to climate change. The Sierra Club on Tuesday asked the EPA inspector general to investigate whether Pruitt violated agency policy by making the comments.

“The comments from the EPA chief were disconcerting,” Curbelo said. “What he said was similar to saying that the Earth is flat in 2017. We must insist on evidence-based and scientific policies.”

Curbelo said some Trump allies were ready to work to fix climate change, but he declined to identify them.

The resolution came amid growing concern and confusion about the way Trump’s environmental policies were taking shape. After calling climate change a hoax and vowing during the 2016 presidential race to pull the United States out of the Paris climate accord if elected, Trump asked energy companies for advice on whether to actually pull out.

And his call on Wednesday for a new revision of the fuel efficiency standards for American vehicles implemented under former President Barack Obama drew criticism from Democrats and environmental groups who accused him of risking more carbon emissions and higher fuel costs.

Two sources told Reuters that the administration has been contacting US energy companies about the climate deal and would consider their input to make a decision on it shortly.

An overwhelming majority of scientists say that human activity, including burning oil, gas, and coal, is the main driver of rising global temperatures. Most Republicans either dispute that or disagree that it is an urgent issue.

Melinda Pierce, legislative director for the Sierra Club, said her group would be watching how Republicans who signed the resolution voted for more impactful legislation.

“We’ve seen that many of the Republicans sponsoring this resolution have voted against climate action in the past, so their actual commitment will be measured by how they vote on legislation that undermines climate progress or promotes climate projects. fossil fuels in the future, “he said. .

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