Congresswoman Elaine Luria Statement on President Trump’s Decision to Begin Withdrawal Process from Paris Climate Accord

November 7, 2019
Press Release
Joins Other Pro-Climate Leaders in Condemning Regressive Move

WASHINGTON – Congresswoman Elaine Luria (VA-02) and other members of the New Democrat Coalition Climate Change Task Force this week condemned President Trump’s announcement that the U.S. would begin the withdrawal process from the Paris Climate Accord, leaving America as the only nation to abandon the global effort to combat climate change.

The four task force leaders stressed the importance of the United States’ recommitment to the agreement and our nation’s role as a global leader in combatting climate change:

“The President’s decision to begin formally withdrawing from the Paris Climate Agreement threatens our coastal community and puts our military readiness at risk,” NDC Climate Change Task Force Co-Chair Luria said. “The Department of Defense found that climate change is a ‘national security issue’ and ‘the greater Hampton Roads area is very vulnerable to flooding caused by rising sea levels and land subsidence.’ The Administration should listen to our military and reverse this decision.”

“In abandoning the Paris Agreement, the United States resigns its role as a global leader in the fight against climate change. The U.S. will become the sole major carbon polluter not a party to this agreement, abdicating our responsibility and compromising our ability to negotiate future international agreements,” NDC Climate Change Task Force Co-Chair Don Beyer (VA-08) said. “Taking us out of the Paris Accords isolates and embarrasses our country on the world stage. The United States must preserve its commitments at home and abroad.”

“As our country continues to experience dangerous wildfires, flooding, and extreme weather events, we need bold leadership on climate. Instead, President Trump has abdicated our role as a world leader in combating the climate crisis to side with polluters,” NDC Climate Change Task Force Co-Chair Sean Casten (IL-06) said. “The Administration’s decision to withdraw from the Paris Agreement is a catastrophic mistake – for our environment, our global standing, and our economy. America should be a leader in climate action, not the only nation not taking action. America is better than this. We must demand action on climate now.”

“The Administration has sent official notice to the United Nations to become the only nation in the world not in the Paris Climate Accord. Months ago, the House passed the Climate Action Now Act to take this crisis seriously. It is now more important than ever that Senate Majority leader McConnell brings this to a vote in the Senate,” NDC Climate Change Task Force Co-Chair Susan Wild (PA-07) said. 

“This is not the time for our nation to step away from the world stage. Just look at our region. Tribal members and coastal homeowners facing rising waters, shellfish growers watching changing ocean chemistry hurt their operations, and firefighters wrestling with more severe fires will tell you climate change is here,” NDC Chair Derek Kilmer (WA-06) said. “President Trump should listen to the American people who are not just demanding action – but leadership to counter the impacts of climate change.”

The NDC is committed to combatting climate change with the urgency it demands through durable, long-lasting, and pragmatic policy solutions. The Coalition, led by the Climate Change Task Force, recently released its Priorities for U.S. Climate Policy, a comprehensive pathway to addressing climate change through American leadership and global action toward decarbonization efforts and the attainment of net-zero emissions in the U.S. by 2050 at the latest. The NDC also endorsed a slate of 12 bills – 7 of which are bipartisan, including Congresswoman Luria’s Nuclear Energy Leadership Act – to take action on the priorities and begin pushing legislation forward. Among that slate of bills was H.R. 9, The Climate Action Now Act, which prohibits the United States from withdrawing from the Paris Climate Accord.

Background: The Paris Climate Accord is an international treaty developed under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in 2015. The accord aimed to bring all nations together into a common initiative to ambitiously combat climate change and adapt to its effects by drastically reducing greenhouse gas emissions. The reduction in emissions looked to hold global temperature rise in the 21st century well below 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels with efforts to limit increases even further to 1.5 degrees Celsius. President Trump first notified the United Nations of his intention to withdraw from the Paris Climate Accord on June 1, 2017; however, the Paris Agreement entered into force on November 4, 2016, with stipulations that no country could leave the accord for three years, after which there is a one-year waiting period for the withdrawal process to be finalized.

Congresswoman Elaine Luria represents Virginia’s 2nd Congressional District. She serves on the House Armed Services Committee, where she is the Vice Chair of the Seapower and Projection Forces Subcommittee, and the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs, where she serves as Chair of the Disability Assistance and Memorial Affairs Subcommittee.