In challenge to Trump, 17 Republicans in Congress join fight against global warming

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By Emily Flitter | NEW YORK

NEW YORK Seventeen congressional Republicans
signed a resolution on Wednesday vowing to seek “economically
viable” ways to stave off global warming, challenging the stated
views of President Donald Trump, who has called climate change a

Republicans Elise Stefanik of New York, Carlos Curbelo of
Florida and Ryan Costello of Pennsylvania introduced the
legislation in the U.S. House of Representatives, pledging to “study and address the causes and effects of measured changes to
our global and regional climates” and seek ways to “balance
human activities” that contribute.

Several Republicans who signed the resolution, which is
non-binding, represent parts of the country most affected.
Curbelo hails from Miami, where streets regularly flood at high
tide due to rising sea levels.

“This issue was regrettably politicized some 20 or so years
ago and we are in the process of taking some of the politics
out, reducing the noise and focusing on the challenge and on the
potential solutions,” Curbelo said in a call with journalists on

Jay Butera, a congressional liaison for the non-partisan
group the Citizens Climate Lobby, called the resolution “an
important step toward getting both parties focused on finding

A similar resolution was introduced by Republicans in the
previous Congress, with 17 signing. Some of those lawmakers lost
their re-election bids.

Trump’s newly confirmed Environmental Protection Agency
administrator, Scott Pruitt, said in a CNBC interview on
Thursday that he did not believe carbon dioxide was a major
contributor to climate change.

“The head of the EPA’s comments were disconcerting,” Curbelo
said. “What he said was akin to saying the earth is flat in
2017. We must insist on evidence-based and science-based

Curbelo said some Trump allies were ready to work on fixing
climate change but he declined to identify them.

Trump has called climate change a hoax to weaken U.S.
business and said during his 2016 presidential campaign that he
wanted to pull the United States out of the Paris climate

Two sources told Reuters the administration has been
contacting U.S. energy companies about the climate agreement and
would consider their input in making a decision on it shortly.

An overwhelming majority of scientists say human activity –
including the burning of oil, gas and coal – is the main driver
of rising global temperatures. Most Republicans either dispute
that or disagree that it is an urgent problem.

Melinda Pierce, the Sierra Club’s legislative director, said
her group would keep an eye on how Republicans who signed the
resolution voted on more impactful legislation.

“We’ve seen that many of the Republicans sponsoring this
resolution have voted against climate action in the past, so
their real commitment will be measured by how they vote on
legislation that undermines climate progress or promotes fossil
fuel projects moving forward,” she said.

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