On Thursday, the House of Representatives approved the first climate bill in nearly a decade that would block President Donald Trump from leaving the Paris climate agreement.
The bill, called the Climate Action Now Act, was passed in the House with a 231-190 vote. If approved, it would require Trump to build out a plan to uphold the United States’ pledge, established under President Barack Obama, to the Paris climate agreement. The Paris agreement required the US to cut its emissions by at least 26 percent by 2025 compared to 2005 levels.
Rhea Suh, president of the Natural Resources Defense Council, responded to the vote in a statement. “Nothing better demonstrates the newfound climate leadership in Congress than today’s vote,” Suh said. “The House is responding to the rising calls, from every quarter, for action to combat the soaring costs and the mounting dangers of climate change. And it’s signaling to the country, and the world, that Americans intend to keep the promises we made in Paris.”
The measure is not expected to pass in the Republican-controlled Senate. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) has previously said that the legislation “will go nowhere.”
Even if it passes in the Senate, the bill is unlikely to receive Trump’s signature. In 2017, Trump announced that he would pull out of the agreement, although the US is unable to do so before the end of 2020. If approved, the Climate Action Now Act would prevent the administration from using federal funding to withdraw from the deal.
Still, House Democrats are optimistic that a bill like the Climate Action Now Act can help spur conversations around climate change in Congress. “It’s one of the first,” Rep. Ro Khanna (D-CA) said of the measure. “I don’t think it can be the only one.” Khanna has been a prominent backer of the Green New Deal, which aims to achieve zero greenhouse emissions in an equitable way.
“We’re going to need a lot of bills to tackle climate change, so this is a good start,” Khanna continued.