Senate Democrats Want To Make Climate Change A Pillar Of US Diplomacy

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Andrew Trunsky Political Reporter
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Senate Democrats will introduce legislation Thursday that makes climate change a key component of U.S. diplomacy and emphasizes initiatives aimed at lowering other countries’ emissions.

The bill, titled the United States Climate Leadership in International Mitigation, Adaptation, and Technological Enhancement Act of 2021 and sponsored by New Jersey Sen. Bob Menendez, follows the White House’s wide-ranging effort to combat climate change and curb U.S. emissions. It will be introduced a week before President Joe Biden hosts an international summit aimed at convincing other nations to embrace more environmentally friendly policies. (RELATED: Climate Change, Housing, Broadband: Here’s What’s In Biden’s Infrastructure Bill)

The legislation will likely face significant Republican opposition, and would need 60 votes to overcome a GOP filibuster if brought to a vote.

TOPSHOT - US President Joe Biden sits in the Oval Office as he signs a series of orders at the White House in Washington, DC, after being sworn in at the US Capitol on January 20, 2021. - US President Joe Biden signed a raft of executive orders to launch his administration, including a decision to rejoin the Paris climate accord. The orders were aimed at reversing decisions by his predecessor, reversing the process of leaving the World Health Organization, ending the ban on entries from mostly Muslim-majority countries, bolstering environmental protections and strengthening the fight against Covid-19. (Photo by Jim WATSON / AFP) (Photo by JIM WATSON/AFP via Getty Images)

President Joe Biden signed an executive order rejoining the Paris climate accord on his first day in office. (JIM WATSON/AFP via Getty Images)

The 200-plus page bill would embed climate change into an enormous range of U.S. policy, from combatting China and economic exports to farming and Arctic policy-planning. It would grant funding for further studies examining how climate change would jeopardize global stability and food systems, implement a new program to fight international deforestation and allocate $12 billion for a multilateral Green Climate Fund over a four-year span.

The bill also explicitly criticizes former President Donald Trump’s climate policies, calling his withdrawal from the Paris climate accord a “mistake that harmed the leadership, economic, national security, and diplomatic interests of the United States,” and rebuking his abstaining from multiple climate-focused meetings with other world leaders.

Biden’s $2 trillion infrastructure package contains hundreds of billions of dollars aimed at mitigating climate change and boosting renewable energy and sustainable infrastructure, but Republicans have called it a non-starter and argued that it is filled with wasteful spending.

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