WASHINGTON ― House Republicans who vowed months ago to combat climate change have found themselves at odds with the most prominent member of their party: President Donald Trump.
Trump is reportedly close to announcing that he will withdraw from the Paris climate change agreement, which is aimed at reducing global greenhouse gas emissions. If Trump does pull out of the pact, it would make the U.S. one of only three countries to not be included in the historic agreement.
Three months ago, 17 House Republicans introduced a resolution attempting to steer debate away from whether climate change is real, and promising to do something about greenhouse gas emissions. There is also a Climate Solutions Caucus with 34 members, including 17 Republicans ― but that’s not enough to push through any kind of substantial climate change legislation in the House.
Four of the Congress members who signed the resolution spoke against Trump’s reported decision on Wednesday. Others remained silent, and a few said they would not comment until the president had formally announced that the U.S. would withdraw.
Rep. Carlos Curbelo (R-Fla.), who helped draft the resolution, said the Climate Solutions Caucus would need to amp up its efforts to get lawmakers behind policies to help mitigate greenhouse gas emissions.
Rep. Pat Meehan (R-Pa.) said the U.S. would fall behind on the world stage if Trump backed out of the pact, which nearly 190 nations signed.
“If these reports are accurate, it’s disappointing,” Meehan said in an emailed statement. “The result will be diminished American leadership and influence as the world works together to combat climate change.”
Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Fla.) also said the U.S. should work to fight climate change around the world.
Rep. David Reichert (R-Wash.) issued the most detailed statement in response to the reports.
“The Paris Accord gives the United States a global platform to be a leading voice on international issues impacting our economy, security, and the environment,” he said. “Withdrawing from the agreement would cause us to lose this influence. I have always believed stewardship of our environment and sound economic policy are not mutually exclusive.”
The caucus appeared to gain support from a few other Republicans in the House.
The White House wouldn’t confirm or deny reports that Trump plans to back out of the climate deal. The president said Wednesday that people will “find out very soon” what he’s decided.
“I’m hearing from a lot of people, both ways,” Trump said, according to a White House pool report. “Both ways.”
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