Republicans on Climate Solutions Caucus urge Trump to remain in Paris accord

Republicans Paris accord

From left, Republican representatives Carlos Curbelo, Patrick Meehan, Ryan Costello and Brian Fitzpatrick signed a letter to President Trump in support of the Paris climate agreement.

By Steve Valk

From businesses to oil companies, there has been no shortage voices advising President Trump to keep the U.S. in the Paris climate agreement, and now several Republicans in Congress are also urging him to honor the accord.

It comes as no surprise that the four GOP House members making this recommendation are also members of the bipartisan Climate Solutions Caucus. Joining with 17 Democrats on the caucus, the four signed on to a letter this week to “respectfully urge that the United States maintain its commitment to the Paris agreement under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCC).”

The four Republicans are Carlos Curbelo of Florida and Patrick Meehan, Ryan Costello and Brian Fitzpatrick from Pennsylvania.

Citizens’ Climate Lobby Executive Director Mark Reynolds said, “”We’re very encouraged with the bipartisan leadership on climate change that is emerging out of the caucus. We sincerely hope the president will heed the call from Republicans and Democrats to honor the global commitment our nation made in Paris to stabilize our climate.”

A major tug of war is currently under way at the White House over whether the U.S. will withdraw from the Paris pact, something Trump vowed to do during the presidential campaign last year. He told Reuters a decision would be made in about two weeks.

In their letter to Trump, caucus members explained, “Remaining in the UNFCCC will strengthen American leadership on environmental stewardship and help transform today’s low-carbon investments into trillions of dollars of clean energy prosperity. Withdrawing would mean squandering a unique opportunity to promote American research, ingenuity, and innovation.”

This is not the first letter Curbelo has signed in support of the Paris accord. Last month, he signed a letter to Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, urging him to “continue making the case with the Administration that the United States should not give up its seat at the table by upholding U.S. commitments made to the international community under the Paris agreement and the UNFCCC framework.”

The letter to Trump this week says Obama’s proposed 26 percent to 28 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions “are achievable, but they will require hard work, and along the way will create massive opportunities for American companies and workers.”

In the past couple of months, Curbelo has emerged as the leading Republican voice in the House on climate change. When EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt said that carbon dioxide is not the primary contributor to climate change, Curbelo released a statement calling Pruitt’s comments “reckless and unacceptable.” Curbelo also led the charge when 17 Republicans introduced a resolution acknowledging the threat of climate change and calling on Congress to develop solutions.

Steve Valk is Communications Coordinator for Citizens' Climate Lobby. Steve joined the CCL staff in 2009 after a 30-year career with the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Follow him on Twitter at @valklimate.