House Speaker Pelosi to lead delegation to UN climate conference

House Speaker Pelosi to lead delegation to UN climate conference

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House Speaker Pelosi (D-CA) on Saturday announced that she would be leading a group of Democratic lawmakers to the annual international climate summit in Spain next week, a month after the Trump administration started formally withdrawing the US from the Paris agreement.

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The summit, called COP25,  will be attended by 14 members of the House and Senate, though no GOP lawmakers will make an appearance. It is scheduled to take place in Madrid from Dec. 2-13. The goal of the meeting is to “raise overall ambition also by completing several key aspects with respect to the full operationalization of the Paris Climate Change Agreement," according to the UN.

Under the Paris climate accord, countries are expected to commit to reducing emissions of planet-warming gases by upgrading their efforts over time. Every five years, participants are supposed to make a new, improved pledge to ensure progress. President Trump announced that he would pull out the US from the Paris agreement shortly after he took office, but he wasn't able to cease participation immediately or even begin the process of leaving the accord as participants can't do so in the first three years after the agreement went into effect. The withdrawal process is expected to formally end on Nov. 4, 2020, a day after the presidential election. If President Trump doesn't get re-elected and the next president wants to re-join, they could apply for readmission in the first 30 days.

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Pelosi's statement: The House Speaker highlighted the need to fight climate change and take appropriate action to ensure the preservation of the environment.

"It is a privilege to accompany a high-level Congressional delegation to Spain to combat the existential threat of our time: the climate crisis," she wrote. "On behalf of the U.S. Congress, I am proud to travel to COP25 to reaffirm the commitment of the American people to combating the climate crisis."

Read the full statement here.

"One of the goals we have is to make sure that all of those who are in the Paris Accord know that the Democratic majority in the Congress of the American people are very concerned about the climate issue, understand that we have to set goals and have a plan on how to achieve them, and to talk about some of the things that we have done," Pelosi told Bloomberg Environment before departing for Spain.

Climate experts largely disagree with the president's move and believe the US should be part of the fight against climate change. "Global objectives can't be met unless everybody does their part and the U.S. has to play the game. We're the second-biggest player. What happens to the game if we take our ball and go home?" Appalachian State University environmental sciences professor Gregg Marland told the Associated Press last month.

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