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Castor Gets Paris Climate Accord Bill Passed In U.S. House

May 2, 2019

The House of Representatives passed a bill Thursday that would keep the U.S. in the Paris Climate agreement. But the bill, which was sponsored by a Tampa representative, may not go much further than the House.

The U.S. House voted mostly along party lines to pass the Climate Action Now Act , which would prevent the Trump Administration from withdrawing from the Paris Climate Agreement. Its sponsor is Tampa Democrat Kathy Castor, who chairs the House Select Committee on the Climate Crisis.

"Today is a very important milestone," Castor said in a news conference before the vote. "The House is taking up major climate legislation for the first time in nearly a decade. And we are starting by honoring America's committment to address the climate crisis, because we are already seeing the devastating effects of climate change."

The Paris climate accord set goals for reducing carbon emissions to keep the Earth's temperature from rising too steeply. But President Trump announced that the U.S. would withdraw from the agreeement.

The bill is unlikely to be introduced in the Republican-controlled Senate, as majority leader Mitch McConnell dismissed it as “political theater” by Democrats.

Castor said battling climate change is essential--as is keeping our commitments to the rest of the world.

"Combatting the climate crisis is a moral imperative that compels us to act and ensure we live in and leave behind a healthier, safer, more sustainable world for our kids and our grandkids," she said. "But the first step is keeping our word to work with the rest of the world to cut carbon pollution and rise to the challenge of climate change."

Her words were echoed by House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, D-Maryland.

"If we leave the Paris agreement, we will be the only nation not to participate," he said. "That makes no sense. It sends a very, very negative message."