House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) will lead a delegation of congressional Democrats to the United Nations climate change conference in Madrid next week, her office announced Saturday.
Pelosi and 14 other Democrats from both chambers of Congress will attend the 2019 United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, also called COP25, her office said.
“It is a privilege to accompany a high-level Congressional delegation to Spain to combat the existential threat of our time: the climate crisis,” Pelosi said in the statement.
“Taking action to protect our planet is a public health decision for clean air and clean water for our children, an economic decision for creating the green, good-paying jobs of the future, a national security decision to address resource competition and climate migration and also a moral decision to be good stewards of God’s creation and pass a sustainable, healthy planet to the next generation,” she added.
Pelosi will be joined by Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.) and Democratic Reps. Frank Pallone Jr. (N.J.), Eddie Bernice Johnson (Texas), Raúl Grijalva (Ariz.), Kathy Castor (Fla.), Betty McCollum (Minn.), Suzanne Bonamici (Ore.) Julia Brownley (Calif.), Jared Huffman (Calif.), Scott Peters (Calif.), Debbie Dingell (Mich.), Mike Levin (Calif.), Sean Casten (Ill.) and Joseph Neguse (Colo.).
According to a U.N. press release, a key COP25 objective is to “raise overall ambition” for combating climate change “by completing several key aspects with respect to the full operationalization of the Paris Climate Change Agreement.”
The Trump administration this month began the process of formally withdrawing from the Obama-era climate pact. The move from President Trump, who has long criticized the agreement and vowed to leave it during a Rose Garden speech in 2017, begins a yearlong process to formally withdraw the U.S. from the accord.
The State Department said Saturday that despite plans to withdraw from the pact, the Trump administration “will continue to participate in ongoing climate change negotiations and meetings—such as COP25—to ensure a level playing field that protects U.S. interests.”
The department announced that Ambassador Marcia Bernicat, principal deputy assistant secretary of State for Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs, would lead the U.S. delegation to the summit with other officials from multiple federal agencies and departments.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo justified Trump’s move to formally withdraw from the Paris climate accord earlier this month, arguing that the agreement imposed an “unfair economic burden” on “American workers, businesses, and taxpayers.”
Other focus areas for the conference, which takes place from Dec. 2 to Dec. 13, include “adaptation, loss and damage, transparency, finance, capacity-building, Indigenous issues, oceans, forestry, and gender.”