The House of Representatives passed a bill on Thursday designed to force the United States to stay in the Paris accord, in a rebuke to President Trump, who has promised to withdraw from the landmark climate agreement inked under his predecessor, Barack Obama.
The Democratic bill, which passed 231 to 190 in a vote largely along party lines, stands little chance of approval in the GOP-controlled Senate.
But House Democrats seized on the measure to portray Republicans as obstacles to progress on climate change — and make a case ahead of the 2020 election that Trump is undermining the nation’s commitment to rein in heat-trapping pollution. Democrats also hope to signal to other countries party to the Paris agreement inked in 2015 that, if the next president is a Democrat, he or she is likely to keep the U.S. in the climate agreement.
“Passing this bill is an important signal to our allies, and my expectation is that when we act, we’ll see increased ambition from them, too,” Rep. Kathy Castor (D-Fla.), lead sponsor of the legislation, told reporters a day before the vote.
Though Trump announced his intent to pull out of the Paris accord after only a few months in office, the earliest he could go forward with the withdrawal is November 2020.
“That’s an interesting date, isn’t it?” Castor said.
The approval of the Climate Action Now Act also constitutes the first time in nearly a decade that a major piece of legislation focused on addressing climate change has passed the lower chamber. That’s despite the warnings from climate scientists over that period about the perils of inaction when it comes to reducing climate-warming emissions. [Continue reading…]