As droughts, intense floods, wildfires, and other extreme weather events disrupt America’s economy and threatens its national security, more than 20 Republican and Democratic Members of Congress traveled to Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt from November 6-18 to press U.S. global leadership on emissions reductions during the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP27). Their participation illustrated how the U.S. Congress is addressing the drivers of climate change and their efforts to tackle its effects on low-and middle-income countries, as well as strengthening preparedness at home against acute climate shocks.
America’s Global Leadership Tackling the Climate Crisis
Congressional support for America’s global climate leadership is strong. Bipartisan members of Congress agree that climate change is a common threat that requires greater cooperation with America’s allies, because when we don’t show up, others will fill the void, like China who has shown limited interest in tackling the climate crisis responsibly.
- Senator Ed Markey (D-MA): “The planet will be safer, more secure, and more in solidarity if the nations that have done most to cause the climate crisis—including the United States and China—work together to confront loss and damage.”
- Rep. Garret Graves (R-LA): “There are three things that we all need to be thinking about as we plot a course forward in regard to energy security and emissions. Number one is recognizing the fact that the United States has led the world in reducing emissions… over about a 17-year history… We have a crystal-clear approach on how we are going to move forward in deploying reliable, affordable, clean, exportable, and secure energy supplies and making sure the United States continues to lead the world in reducing emissions.”
- Rep. Greg Meeks (D-NY): “[Countries] were very pleased that the United States is back at the table… they felt more confident and more resolve that America’s leadership in saving our planet will continue to take place and that we’re back at the table leading.”
- Rep. Mariannette Miller-Meeks (R-IA): “Many of us live in either states where the climate is important recreationally, or in my state the climate is important for agricultural production. And we know that we can have policies that lead to affordable energy, that allow us to grow our economy and compete globally around the world without increasing emissions.”
- Rep. Kathy Castor (D-FL): “What we want the folks here at this COP [and] our friends across the globe to understand is that America is ready to participate at a much higher level through science, technology, resilience… this is a time of action… If the United States of America is not going to be in the lead on science and technology, who is? We’re not willing to cede that to another country.”
Bipartisan Support for Climate Investments
During COP27, Republican and Democratic Members of Congress agreed that the U.S. must lead globally to invest in and strengthen policies for an affordable clean energy transition that grows the U.S. economy and reduces global emissions. This is a proven investment to build a healthier, safer, and more prosperous America and can unlock new economic opportunities at home. According to the United Nations, a $1 investment in a green economy transition yields, on average, $4 in benefits to the global economy.
- Senator Ben Cardin (D-MD): “We need to meet our obligation in the global community on these funds. But the United States also does a lot more. USAID is a major player in dealing with the needs of the developing nations to have the infrastructure they need to meet their goals. Millennium Challenge Corporation is focused on these issues in their campaign to deal with climate. In Feed the Future, dealing with food security, very much impacted by climate issues to the less developed nations.”
- Rep. John Curtis (R-UT), Chair of the Conservative Climate Caucus: “Without Republicans engaging in this debate, we will not make the progress we need to make as a country. Any significant accomplishment in the United States has been bipartisan. The ideas that Republicans bring to the table are essential to meeting the goals we all have for a better environment.”
- Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA): “These are critical investments. But we all know more is needed. As the United Nations and scientists around the world have made clear, we can still preserve a sustainable climate for future generations. But that window is closing fast. We must work together to follow through on our commitments and change our collective trajectory.”
- Rep. Garret Graves (R-LA): “This is about making investments in communities where you have vulnerabilities and making sure that these communities are resilient enough to withstand these storms or these disaster events and make sure we are not continuing to come in to put the pieces back together, continuing to come in and spend these billions of dollars. So, it’s all about making targeted investments of millions of dollars rather than extraordinary investments of billions of dollars in the aftermath of disasters.”
- Rep. Frank Pallone (D-NJ): “We’re here to demonstrate that the United States continues its commitment with our global partners in the fight against climate change. And we’re here to reaffirm our determination to accelerate our transition to a stronger, more equitable and sustainable future… We’re not going to falter in our commitment nor our determination to tackle the climate crisis head on.”
Building a Better, More Stable World
By 2050, 1.2 billion people – 15 percent of the global population – could be displaced from their homes due to climate-driven disasters. As a threat multiplier, climate change exacerbates resource competition and food and water insecurity, potentially leading to violent conflict and threatening America’s stability at home. America’s climate investments strengthen our preparedness against future global threats before they reach our shores.
- Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA): “I would hope that we could come to our common ground for the children, for their future. It’s a health issue… It’s an economic issue for their families… It’s a national security issue. We’re told by national security experts that the competition for habitat and resources can cause conflict.… And it is a moral issue as we know for the children to pass this planet on to future generations.”
- Rep. Dan Crenshaw (R-TX): “Prosperity is the goal, and energy security is the goal, and clean energy is the goal… If we approach [climate solutions] with rational environmentalism, where we all start to agree that we want clean air, clean water, better conservation, and cleaner energy, we can all be on the same page.”
- Rep. Chellie Pingree (D-ME): “I look forward to helping turn the global summit’s constructive discussions into substantive action to secure a habitable world for our children and future generations.”
- Rep. Mariannette Miller-Meeks (R-IA): “We all want to leave a cleaner, healthier planet for our children and our grandchildren and to do so in a way that is affordable and provides increased demand for individuals throughout the world and allows us in the United States to complete in a global economic [climate].”