Chicago Sun-Times (Sunday)
America back in the fight against climate change
Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas and a number of other Republicans have criticized President Joe Biden for signing an executive order to have the United States rejoin the Paris climate agreement.
U.S. Rep. Bryan Steil, a Republican who is my representative in Wisconsin’s 1st District, claims that the accord gives an unfair advantage to China. However, all national commitments in the Paris Agreement are voluntary, with individual nations determining the ambition and design of their own climate plans. It’s revealing that the conservative-leaning U.S. Chamber of Commerce, which has a pro-business focus, welcomes Biden’s move.
The best response that I’ve seen to these objections can be found in the 2019 report “A Climate Security Plan for America: A Presidential Plan for Combating the Security Risks of Climate Change,” which has been endorsed by more than 20 admirals and generals:
“The U.S. is contending with an international environment colored by the announcement of the intent of the U.S. to withdraw from the Paris Agreement, a loss of American prestige and international leadership as a result, a lack of trust between the U.S. and its partners and allies, and significant moves by other nations, such as China, to fill that global leadership vacuum. China, for example, is positioning itself as a regional and global leader in investments in climate resilience and clean energy transitions. This challenge to U.S. leadership on climate change, particularly from near-peer competitors, can have significant implications for U.S. national security well beyond this issue.”
The pandemic has taught us the importance of hedging against catastrophic risk. Certainly, this is consistent with conservative values. President Biden should be congratulated for embracing U.S. leadership on this crucial issue.
Terry Hansen Hales Corners, Wisconsin