U.S. Rep. Lauren Boebert said re-entering the Paris Climate Agreement will kill millions of blue-collar jobs in the oil and gas industry and should not be done unilaterally by President Joe Biden.
Boebert, R-Colo., introduced the Paris Agreement Constitutional Treaty Act this week, a bill intended to prevent the U.S. from re-entering the agreement. The bill, co-sponsored by 11 other Republican representatives, must first be assigned to a committee then voted on by the House of Representatives before being discussed and voted on in the Senate to be passed into law.
The bill would prohibit any actions from being taken or money being allotted to carry out the goals of the Paris Climate Agreement before Senate approval and ratification.
“America shouldn’t spend a penny on the Paris Agreement,” Boebert said in an interview this week with The Durango Herald.
Shortly after being inaugurated Wednesday, Biden signed several executive orders, including one to re-enter the Paris Climate Agreement in the next 30 days.
The Paris Climate Agreement is an international treaty in which participating countries set goals to limit greenhouse gas emissions and global warming. The U.S. entered the agreement in 2016 and later withdrew in 2017 under the Trump administration.
“Unilaterally entering the Paris Agreement was wrong in 2016, and it’s wrong now,” Boebert said.
Boebert took to Twitter to rebuke Biden’s actions for re-entering “the job-killing Paris Agreement.”
“It puts blue collar jobs at risk,” Boebert said in an interview. “Implementing this agreement could kill up to 2.7 million jobs in the United States by 2025 alone.”
The Paris Agreement Constitutional Treaty Act does not mention how re-entering the Paris Agreement would potentially affect the environment or the job market. Instead, its sole focus is on ensuring no money goes into the Paris Agreement before the Senate ratifies the action to re-enter the treaty.
“I’m not for government choosing winners and losers and deciding where our tax dollars are spent overseas in useless agreements like this,” Boebert said. “We need to continue the exploration and the development of our fossil fuels.”
Unlike Boebert, Colorado’s senators praised Biden’s executive action on Twitter. On Wednesday, Sen. Michael Bennet, D-Colo., tweeted:
“Rejoining the Paris Agreement is a win for our planet, economy, health and national security. I applaud President Biden’s commitment to tackling the climate crisis so that we can safeguard our way of life and build a 21st century, clean energy economy.”
Sen. John Hickenlooper, D-Colo., also tweeted positively about the president’s executive order:
“We should have never left the Paris Climate Agreement. It’s good to see that on Day 1, President Biden is already fighting climate change and repairing the damage from the prior administration.”
In 2017, as governor of Colorado, Hickenlooper signed an executive order to join the United States Climate Alliance, a group committed to continuing to pursue the goals of the Paris Climate Agreement after the Trump administration withdrew from the treaty and promised to cease U.S. participation in its guidelines.
“It doesn’t surprise me that they support this because they’ve been supporting these radical moves to kill these jobs in Colorado for a very long time,” Boebert said of the Colorado senators’ support of Biden.
Heidi Steltzer, a climate change expert and professor at Fort Lewis College, said she is “ecstatic” that the U.S. re-entered the Paris Agreement.
“I have been truly impressed by the commitment of individual people, of towns, of cities of very different sizes, of businesses, of states to manage, improve (and) commit to health and to the environment over the past four years in the absence of federal leadership,” Steltzer said in an interview with the Herald. “We have demonstrated to the world that we were still in it as a country, but what we can accomplish in each of those separate spaces is small compared to what we can accomplish together.”
Aside from its potential to reduce the harmful effects of climate change on communities across the world, Steltzer said one positive outcome of the Paris Agreement for Colorado residents is the future of snow.
“In a hotter world we need more water, and snow is a really important part of how that water comes into our systems and naturally gets stored in our systems,” Steltzer said.
Reducing greenhouse gas emissions can ensure a greater amount of snow in Colorado’s future, which is important to storing water, stabilizing Colorado’s climate, decreasing the amount of wildfires, preventing droughts and maintaining tourism and Colorado’s outdoor recreation industry, Steltzer said.
“It’s never too late to take action to ... protect vulnerable communities to mitigate and adapt to climate change,” Steltzer said. “If we haven’t done enough yet, it’s not too late. We are on a path to start. And that’s exciting.”
Grace George is an intern for The Durango Herald and The Journal in Cortez and a student at American University in Washington, D.C.