SEEC Member Statements on Paris Climate Agreement
From November 30th through December 12th more than 190 parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) met in Paris, France. This 21st Conference of the Parties (COP-21) had the primary goal of negotiating an international agreement to reduce global greenhouse gas emissions that are damaging our climate and threatening communities around the world. On December 12th a final agreement was announced.
SEEC Members released the following statement:
“The importance of achieving a climate agreement in Paris is second only to the willingness of the U.S. and others to take meaningful steps to reduce carbon pollution in the following days, months, and years.
“For the U.S. this means enacting the President’s Clean Power Plan to reduce carbon pollution; increasing investments in clean energy R&D, as has been proposed by the recently announced Mission Innovation initiative; engaging with businesses, cities, and other large institutions to further reduce carbon emissions; improving resilience in consideration of a changing climate; and supporting international efforts, especially those of developing economies, to plan for the effects of climate change that are already occurring.
“It is only through shared domestic and international actions––those which recognize the realities of climate change and embrace the opportunities inherent to a clean energy economy––that we will achieve the global reductions needed to avert the most harmful climate damages. The United States, as the world’s largest economy and one of the world’s top carbons emitting countries, has a responsibility to lead this fight with our own climate actions here at home.
“We applaud the President, Secretary Kerry, Special Climate Envoy Todd Stern, and the entire Administration for their leadership in addressing climate change. As members of the Sustainable Energy and Environment Coalition we remain committed to supporting U.S. climate efforts at home and abroad."
SEEC Members added the following:
SEEC Co-Chair Rep. Paul Tonko (NY-20): "I am truly excited to hear news coming out of Paris that more than 190 nations have reached an historic agreement on a global response to our largest environmental, economic, and long-term national security challenge in climate danger. The importance of this conference cannot be oversold. Leadership by President Obama and the United States negotiating team makes us proud and ensures the air we breathe and the water we drink will be safer for our children and grandchildren. The strong assurances in this agreement mean that some of the dirtiest polluting countries will also be required to clean up their act with a rigorous reporting process. In Congress, we must quit denying climate change. Instead, we must work together to provide certainty to help our businesses grow and innovate while tackling this significant challenge with technology and thoughtful solutions."
SEEC Co-Chair Rep. Doris Matsui (CA-06): “I commend President Obama, Secretary Kerry, and the entire Administration for their leadership in securing an ambitious climate agreement at the COP21 Paris Climate Summit. Nearly 200 nations have taken an historic step forward in securing a cleaner and healthier world for our children and grandchildren. The world community has sent a message that the climate crisis is real and should be taken seriously, and our country’s leadership is more critical than ever. I hope my colleagues in Congress will work together on climate solutions that adequately answer the challenge put forth by our leaders in Paris. In the decades ahead, we must continue to do our part to prevent further damage to the climate by implementing the President’s Clean Power Plan and increasing investments in our clean energy future.”
SEEC Co-Chair Rep. Gerry Connolly (VA-11): “Historic COP21 agreement is ambitious and attainable goal. Sets global community on a cleaner and sustainable future.”
SEEC Vice-Chair Rep. Alan Lowenthal (CA-47): “The Paris agreement is a loud signal that the world is united in moving forward on a new, cleaner path to a safer and more secure, common home. But Paris is only the beginning. The road ahead will require vision and leadership. As chair of the House Safe Climate Caucus, I believe Congress should embrace this opportunity and I am working across the aisle to advance the dialogue from the denial of yesterday to the solutions of tomorrow.”
SEEC Vice-Chair Rep. Chellie Pingree (ME-01): “It’s powerful to see so many world leaders come together to acknowledge the harsh reality of climate change and commit to addressing it. I especially appreciate President Obama’s leadership in taking steps to cut our greenhouse gas emissions while building our economy through clean energy. Whether it’s rising sea levels, ocean acidification, or declining fisheries, we’re already seeing the effects of climate change in Maine. I hope that the conversations in Paris yield effective and comprehensive actions to head off even worse impacts here and around the world. “As countries across the world come together to fight climate change, America must also do its part.”
SEEC Member Rep. Mike Quigley (IL-05): “Today marks a historic step in the global fight against climate change. For the first time, we have an ambitious, durable climate regime that applies to all countries, focuses both on reducing greenhouse gas emissions and building resilience, includes strong accountability measures, and ensures ongoing financial and technical assistance to those countries in need. I applaud all of those involved in the negotiation process, especially President Obama, Secretary of State John Kerry, and Todd Stern, lead negotiator for the U.S., for their courage and vision.”
SEEC Member Rep. Keith Ellison (MN-05): “We have long needed a global agreement to address climate change and a commitment to curb emissions. Today, the negotiators in Paris delivered just that as they passed one of the most important agreements in human history. The Paris climate deal gives us a fighting chance to protect our way of life against the worst impacts of climate change. Congratulations to all the leaders who negotiated this deal and to the activists around the world fighting for this cause. Just a few years ago, this agreement seemed impossible. Your work has made a historic difference. While the Paris agreement is cause for celebration, we have a lot of work to do to reach these goals. Let’s get started.”
SEEC Member Rep. John Sarbanes (MD-03): "The historic agreement achieved in Paris this weekend is a defining moment in our effort to tackle global climate change. It will help minimize some of climate change’s worst effects – including severe drought, extreme weather, sea-level rise and nuisance flooding – which many communities in Maryland and around the country already experience on a regular basis. The ambitious Paris agreement requires every nation – developed and developing – to commit itself to meaningful emissions reduction goals. It also creates a robust and transparent reporting system to ensure that all countries live up to their commitments. Importantly, the agreement presents an opportunity for the United States to pave the way in clean energy innovation. I am confident that with American ingenuity and with a deep sense of commitment from the public and private sectors, we can realize our carbon reduction goals and help other nations reach their targets as well. I want to congratulate President Obama, Secretary Kerry, chief negotiator Todd Stern, White House Climate Advisor Brian Deese and the entire U.S. negotiating team for their tireless efforts in reaching this tremendous agreement."
SEEC Member Rep. Peter Welch (VT-AL): “The historic global agreement reached in Paris today should put to rest any doubt that climate change is real and that it threatens our environment, our economy, and our health. It is also a recognition that climate change is an economic opportunity to unleash American ingenuity and lead the world in renewable energy and energy efficiency. Vermont should take a bow for its early leadership in this crisis, particularly Middlebury's Bill McKibben, who long ago sounded the climate change alarm and leads a persistent and historic grassroots call to action to save our planet.”
SEEC Member Rep. Ted Lieu (CA-33): “I am thrilled by the climate agreement reached at the Paris talks. The Paris Agreement involves 190 countries and commits each nation, for the very first time, to lowering its carbon pollution and keeping Earth’s global temperature well below the devastating 2 degree Celsius rise. This is a historic moment not only for the United States, but the entire world, as we work to save our planet from the destruction of climate change. My home state of California has long been a world leader in tackling climate change, and I am proud of the Golden State’s presence at the Paris talks. I am also particularly proud of the University of California for being the only university to join Bill Gates’s Breakthrough Energy Coalition, a group of investors committed to green innovation and technologies. I hope that Congress will support the historic progress that the Paris Agreement represents. The economic vibrancy, national security and health of our nation – of our world – in great part depends on Congress’ willingness to forge urgent, bipartisan solutions to address the global peril of climate change.”
SEEC Member Rep. Raul Grijalva (AZ-03): “Today’s agreement is more than a legislative or diplomatic milestone. I sincerely hope and believe that it’s the beginning of a new phase in human history. I join the people of Southern Arizona in sharing my heartfelt gratitude to President Obama, Secretary Kerry and our entire team for the hard work and commitment they brought to this effort from the beginning. Too many people have spent their careers pretending that climate change is a hoax perpetrated by shadowy environmental groups and Machiavellian research scientists. The American public knows full well that’s not the case. We all need to think beyond tomorrow’s political headlines and consider how our actions at this crucial moment in history will be remembered by our grandchildren. Serious leaders no longer consider sitting on our hands an option, especially with our allies agreeing to shared sacrifices and ambitious future targets. I understand that today’s Republican congressional majority won’t approve enforceable climate quality standards. That shouldn’t stop us from setting them as soon as possible. As others have noted, today is the beginning rather than the end of our common efforts to reduce our emissions. I look forward to playing a productive role in the important work yet to be done to protect our country, our people and our planet for the sake of the many lives yet to be lived on Planet Earth.”
SEEC Member Rep. Judy Chu (CA-27): “What we have witnessed in Paris is truly historic. For years, we have been warning that climate change is a global problem, and now we finally have a global solution. I want to congratulate all of our negotiators who worked so hard on this agreement. Curbing emissions is an achievable goal that will spur new innovations and help our economy while protecting our environment. I am committed to doing my part to ensure we meet our goal of cutting greenhouse gas emissions by 26% below 2005 levels by 2025 by supporting the Clean Power Plan, the EPA, investments in new technology, and more. We know the risks of climate change. The stakes could not be higher. This agreement is finally putting the entire world in action to ensure a livable environment for future generations.”
SEEC Member Rep. Scott Peters (CA-52): “The Paris Climate Change Agreement is a historic and important step to reduce emissions and limit the damage to our climate. I applaud the work of Secretary Kerry, U.S. Special Envoy for Climate Change Todd Sterns, and all of the private sector and government leaders from around the world who came together to make this happen. The Paris Agreement comes to the same conclusion that we did in San Diego a long time ago: we do not have to choose between a clean environment and a prosperous economy. As much as reducing emissions is a challenge, it is also an opportunity. This agreement is a clear signal that the transition to a clean energy economy is happening now. As Chairman of the House Sustainable Energy and Environment Coalition’s Climate Task Force, I defended efforts to expand the United States’ climate leadership leading up to the Paris talks, and will work to ensure we keep our commitments as part of this agreement. Earlier this year I led the effort in Congress to support the Green Climate Fund to assist developing countries in adapting to and mitigating climate change, and am glad to see that it will play a central role in ensuring the success of the Paris Agreement. This agreement also follows the November breakthrough in Dubai to reduce the disproportionate role superpollutants like hydrofluorocarbons play in damaging our climate. Tackling this low hanging fruit can quickly mitigate the worst effects of climate change, and I have worked in Congress to ensure U.S. leadership in reducing superpollutant emissions by introducing the SUPER Act. San Diego’s innovation has left its mark on this agreement, and will be crucial in ensuring that America keeps its commitments. Qualcomm, the University of California San Diego, and San Diego State University took pledges to curb emissions and invest in energy efficiency and clean energy. The investment in research and development of clean technologies will also see San Diego’s world-class clean tech sector continue to grow and create jobs across our region.”
SEEC Co-Chair Rep. Paul Tonko (NY-20): With the #ParisAgreement, for the first time, the world's countries have agreed to do their part on #climatechange
SEEC Co-Chair Rep. Doris Matsui (CA-06): .@POTUS & nearly 200 countries, including China & India have secured a historic #ParisAgreement to #ActOnClimate.
SEEC Co-Chair Rep. Gerry Connolly (VA-11): Historic #COP21 agreement is ambitious and attainable goal. Sets global community on a cleaner and sustainable future.
SEEC Vice-Chair Steve Israel (NY-03): Climate agreement is vital step in protecting the air we breath and the lungs with which we breath it. Jumpstart to a clean energy future
SEEC Member Rep. Julia Brownley (CA-26): Congratulations #POTUS for your leadership on #COP21 global climate agreement
SEEC Member Rep. John Sarbanes (MD-03): Voices from around the world have spoken. Big-$$ polluters need to clean up their act. #ParisAgreement #ActOnClimate
SEEC Member Rep. Earl Blumenauer (OR-03): #ParisAgreement is historic achievement in combating climate change! We must keep up this momentum & all do our part to #ActOnClimate #COP21
SEEC Member Rep. Jim McGovern (MA-02): Big News: Nearly 200 countries just signed historic #ParisAgreement on #ClimateChange at #COP21
SEEC Member Re. Mike Quigley (IL-05): Today marks a historic step in the global fight against #climatechange #COP21 #ActOnClimate #ParisAgreement
SEEC Member Rep. Barbara Lee (CA-13): Thrilled by news of #ParisAgreement. The world consensus is clear: we must act to protect our planet before it's too late.
SEEC Member Rep. Don Beyer (VA-08): Extraordinary progress and hope with the #ParisAgreement. I commend all those who worked tirelessly toward today's deal.
SEEC Member Rep. Mike Honda (CA-17): We have a #ParisAgreement! It’s time to innovate & turn climate challenges into opportunities & give our families healthier futures #COP21
SEEC Member Rep. Jerry McNerney (CA-09): I'm proud to see the US & nations #ActOnClimate w/ this historic accord to cut carbon & build a clean energy future.
SEEC Member Rep. Susan Davis (CA-53): It’s inspiring to see 200 nations come together to take on a serious threat to the planet and #ActonClimate. #ParisAgreement #COP21
SEEC Member Rep. Jim Langevin (RI-02): Today's #COP21 #ParisAgreement marks an unprecedented step forward in the fight against climate change. Together, we can make a difference
SEEC Member Rep. Katherine Clark (MA-05): Nearly 200 countries will be pulling in the same direction - a cleaner, safer, healthier world. Proud of U.S. leadership in #ParisAgreement!
SEEC Member Rep. John Delaney (MD-06): Glad to see agreement out of Paris. A good 1st step in global response to climate change.
SEEC Member Rep. Judy Chu (CA-27): With the #ParisAgreement, the nations of the world have come together to recognize the threat of #climatechange & work to stop it
SEEC Member Rep. Tim Ryan (OH-13): We dont own this planet; we are merely borrowing it from our kids. I applaud this historic agreement #EarthToParis
SEEC Member Rep. Emanuel Cleaver (M0-05): In the 1960s, America led the way into space. Now, America will lead the way into the new energy future #ActonClimate #COP21 #ParisAgreement
SEEC Member Rep. Annie Kuster (NH-02): We must work together to stop climate change, and I am encouraged by the progress being made in Paris.
SEEC Member Rep. Katherine Clark (MA-05): With today's announcement of the historic agreement to combat climate change, nearly 200 countries will be pulling in the same direction - a cleaner, safer, and healthier planet. I'm proud of the U.S. leadership in this long term plan to protect the world that all of us share.
SEEC Member Rep. Don Beyer (VA-08): What great hope and progress with today's successful conclusion to the Paris Climate Summit. Truly years in the making. This is a great, bold step forward. Now we must continue the hard work.
SEEC Member Rep. Jerry McNerney (CA-09): I'm proud of America's leadership and the bold commitment that our world leaders make with this climate accord. Through this Paris Agreement, the world is speaking in one voice to say that it is time to take significant, collective action to reduce carbon emissions and invest in cleaner, renewable energy sources to curb the effects of climate change. Given the United States' prior investment in clean technologies, our country has the opportunity to be a leader of the clean energy economy of the future and work to ensure a healthier environment for generations to come.
SEEC Member Rep. Peter Welch (VT-AL): The historic global agreement reached in Paris today should put to rest any doubt that climate change is real and that it threatens our environment, our economy, and our health. It is also a recognition that climate change is an economic opportunity to unleash American ingenuity and lead the world in renewable energy and energy efficiency. Vermont should take a bow for its early leadership in this crisis, particularly Middlebury's Bill McKibben, who long ago sounded the climate change alarm and leads a persistent and historic grassroots call to action to save our planet.
SEEC Member Rep. Lois Capps (CA-24): The climate agreement reached today by 195 countries in Paris is truly a historical moment. Thanks to the leadership of our nation and our President, the world now has a strong framework to start reversing the dangerous course of climate change.
SEEC Member Rep. Jim McGovern (MA-02): Big News: The U.S. joined nearly 200 countries today in signing the historic #ParisAgreement on #ClimateChange. Proud to see America leading the global push to #ActOnClimate and build a brighter future for our kids and grandkids.
SEEC Member Rep. Lloyd Doggett (TX-35): Progress in Paris on major security/environmental challenges. It is a big step forward, but much more action is needed.
SEEC Member Rep. Donna Edwards (MD-04): Congratulations and thank you to President Obama, Secretary Kerry, Administrator McCarthy, and the entire team for the leadership of the United States that helped lead to the historic Paris Agreement. This achievement is a landmark step for climate action that must be followed by a unified effort. Next, all of us should work to get the Congressional Republicans to acknowledge the science and help implement the agreement. To a better future for our kids, grandchildren, and our planet.
SEEC Member Rep. Susan Davis (CA-53): It’s inspiring to see the world come together to take on a serious threat to the planet and #ActonClimate. #ParisAgreement #COP21
SEEC Member Rep. Julia Brownley (CA-26): We have a moral responsibility to protect our planet from the harmful effects of climate change, and I am so pleased that the COP21 Paris Climate Summit has resulted in an historic international agreement to limit carbon pollution and address the climate crisis. The leadership of President Obama and Secretary Kerry has been key, and I commend them for securing such a bold, global commitment to act to address climate change. Clean, sustainable, renewable energy is our future, and I am confident that American ingenuity will help develop the new technologies and jobs that lead the way, limit harmful carbon emissions, and protect the air we breathe for future generations.
SEEC Member Rep. Derek Kilmer (WA-06): We should all be proud that for the first time in our planet’s history, negotiators from 196 nations came together and reached an agreement on limiting greenhouse-gas emissions. The historic Paris Climate Agreement puts us on the path to a greener future and shows that we are committed to protecting the world we live in, in particular for future generations. Efforts like this will help unleash new breakthroughs that can revolutionize entire industries and create new opportunities for entrepreneurs and workers alike. A recent report from the University of Washington on climate change’s impacts on the Puget Sound underscores why the Paris news is so important. Researchers have found that harmful algal blooms, acidification hurting iconic marine species, and rising water levels will increasingly be a new normal without action. I look forward to continuing to work in Congress to fight climate change and protect the iconic region we call home! Take a look at the full report of UW’s findings below.