House passes Climate Action Now bill in first major climate change legislation in a decade

Three Republicans voted with House Democrats to approve the Climate Action Now bill – the first major climate change legislation in a decade.

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In a 231-190 vote, the United States House of Representatives passed the Climate Action Now Act, which would keep the U.S. in the Paris agreement. Three Republicans voted with Democrats to approve the first major climate change legislation in a decade.

The bill will mandate the Trump administration “outlines steps to reduce greenhouse emissions and prohibiting him from using federal funds to withdraw from the agreement,” EcoWatch reported.

“Passing this bill is an important signal to our allies, and my expectation is that when we act, we’ll see increased ambition from them, too,” Democratic Florida Representative Kathy Castor, who sponsored the legislation and chairs the House Select Committee on Climate Crisis, said.

According to scientists, it’s necessary for all countries to meet their pledges as stated under the Paris agreement to prevent a dangerous rise in temperature, The New York Times reported.

But Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said the bill was dead upon arrival to the Senate calling it a “futile gesture to handcuff the U.S. economy.”

While Donald Trump said he would withdraw the U.S. from the Paris agreement in June 2017, he is not lawfully able to do so until November 202, EcoWatch reported.

Some House Republicans disagreed with his colleagues and argued that “global warming is a serious threat.”

“Environmental protection and economic growth are not mutually exclusive,” Florida Republican Representative Vern Buchanan said.

While many environmental groups called the bill a necessary legislation to make the U.S. a leader in addressing climate change, other representatives said the bill passed on Thursday needs to be the “precursor to more legislation,” Democratic Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez said, according to EcoWatch.

“The latest science is clear: In order to adequately address deepening climate chaos, we must transition completely to clean, renewable energy generation in little more than a decade,” Wenonah Hauter, Food & Water Watch Executive Director, said. “The terms of the Paris accord aren’t low-hanging fruit, they’re fruit that has fallen to the ground and begun to rot.”

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