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Quigley Delivers Floor Speech Calling for Urgent Congressional Action on Climate Change

Feb 4, 2021
Press Release
Commends President Biden for rejoining Paris Agreement

Today, U.S. Representative Mike Quigley (IL-05), Vice-Chair of the House Sustainable Energy and Environment Coalition, spoke from the floor of the House of Representatives to praise President Joe Biden’s executive action to begin the process of re-entering the Paris Climate Agreement and to emphasize the need for urgent legislative action in support of the President’s climate plan.

Quigley said in part, “President Biden corrected an egregious mistake when he moved to reenter the US into the Paris Agreement, we must move with him, and usher in the low-carbon economy of the future now.”

Video of Quigley’s speech is available HERE and the text of his speech as prepared for delivery is available below:

By rejoining the Paris Agreement, President Biden has promised the world that America will retake its position as a global leader in the fight against climate change and be true to its word to meet our commitments to reduce greenhouse gases.

It now falls to Congress to prove the President right.

Despite all the confused, disingenuous, and flatly false rhetoric around the Paris Agreement, in reality it is simply a framework for catalyzing, measuring, and improving action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and adapting to climate impacts.

The Agreement– signed by 195 nations in Paris, and not simply for the benefit of the people in that city – is made up of commitments from each nation, determined by that nation, and which they are each responsible for meeting.

President Biden’s commitment, necessary as it was, will not itself reduce America’s emissions enough to meet our 2015 promise to the world or stem the climate crisis.

For that, Congress must act urgently.

We must reject the bad faith talking points about a false dichotomy between environmental stewardship and economic growth and openly embrace the idea that a sustainable economy is dependent upon a sustainable environment.

Far from climate action costing us jobs, the truth is that our entire economy is at stake if we do act on climate.

By contrast, climate action means clean air and better public health, it means more miles between fill-ups and more money in Americans’ pockets.

It means reliable, robust harvests and innovative and productive ways to make money farming sustainably.

It means passing America’s beautiful natural heritage on to future generations and protecting the places and creatures that make our country the envy of the world.

It means safe, livable coastlines that don’t wash away our roads and our homes.

And it means high paying jobs that can’t be outsourced- up to 24 million globally according to the United Nations.

We have a lot of work to do- building out electric vehicle infrastructure and a modern electric grid, cleaning up our rivers and lakes, deploying clean renewable power generation, and inventing the next leap in battery storage technology.

No one is better suited than American workers.

Low-carbon, long term, resilient economic growth and ecological stability are within our grasp, but only if we have the courage to go after them.

This Congress must send legislation to the President’s desk meeting this challenge and seizing this opportunity.

Executive action cannot do it alone.

I am proud to serve as Vice-Chair of the House Sustainable Energy and Environment Coalition.

This group has worked for years to advance common-sense legislation to create green jobs and seize low-carbon opportunity, exactly the type of legislation we’ll need to meet our Paris Agreement commitments.

Mr/Madame Speaker, preliminary data indicates that 2020 will tie 2016 and go down in history as the hottest year on record.

This means that the 7 hottest years have now occurred in the last 7 years.

The call for action, from those whose homes have been destroyed by natural disasters, from those suffering through record heatwaves and droughts, is loud and clear.

And we hear that same call from our constituents, who see through the pandering misdirection of outdated thinking, understand the imperative to act, and increasingly vote only for those who are willing to take action.

President Biden corrected an egregious mistake when he moved to reenter the US into the Paris Agreement, we must move with him, and usher in the low-carbon economy of the future now.

Thank you and I yield back.