Pelosi unveils moderate alternative to Green New Deal

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said the Climate Action Now Act would create jobs if passed. Photo by Yuri Gripas/UPI

March 27 (UPI) — One day after the Senate stymied attempts by progressive Democrats to pass the Green New Deal, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi introduced more scaled-back legislation Wednesday to fight climate change.

The House Democratic leader unveiled the Climate Action Now Act at a news conference on Capitol Hill. She said its aim is create more jobs and guard the environment.

“It’s about good paying green jobs. It’s about public health, clean air and clean water for our children. It’s about defending our national security,” Pelosi said.

The bill would recommit the United States to the 2016 Paris Agreement on climate change, which seeks to keep the rise of global temperature this century to less than 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels. Nearly 200 countries have signed the pact, but President Donald Trump announced in mid-2017 he would withdraw the United States because it’s a “bad deal” for the U.S. economy.

The United States has not yet officially withdrawn from the deal because nations must wait at least three years after signing the pact to leave, and then another year for the withdrawal to take effect. The soonest the United States can leave is Nov. 4, 2020.

The Climate Action Now Act also would stop the government from using federal money to push the withdrawal from the Paris Agreement. In it’s current state, the bill isn’t as far reaching as the New Green Deal crafted by freshman Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Sen. Edward Markey.

The Green New Deal offered a broad plan to fight climate change with room for more specific policies to make the United States carbon neutral in 10 years. It also sought to involve marginalized communities disproportionately affected by climate change — those living in poverty, people of color and communities like Flint, Mich., already facing environmental struggles.

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The proposal didn’t entirely halt the use of coal or oil, but sought to offset that pollution by increasing forests, which absorb carbon dioxide. It called for an upgrade to infrastructure, building resiliency to climate change-related natural disasters and working with farmers to reduce emissions.

Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell brought the Green New Deal to the Senate floor for a vote Tuesday, not because he expected it to pass but because he appeared to view the vote as a way to force more moderate Democrats to go on the record with the progressive proposal. Pelosi described it as a “green dream.”

The Republican-controlled Senate voted 57-0 against bringing the bill up for debate.

House Democrats also announced the formation of a bipartisan Select Committee on Climate Change, which plans to meet on the Climate Action Now Act on Thursday.

Nancy Pelosi

@SpeakerPelosi

Democrats are introducing legislation to keep America in the Paris Agreement & force the Trump Admin to take real action to curb carbon emissions. https://twitter.com/i/broadcasts/1DXxyaqBlrLxM 

Introduction of H.R. 9, the Climate Action Now Act

Nancy Pelosi @SpeakerPelosi

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