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Pelosi to lead delegation to climate summit amid U.S. withdrawal from Paris climate deal

U.N. warns about rising carbon emissions
U.N. climate change report warns about rising carbon emissions 05:46

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is leading a delegation of members of Congress to the annual international climate summit known as COP25 in Madrid, Spain, next week. While the delegation will include members of both the House and Senate, it will not be bipartisan, as only Democrats will be attending. 

"It is a privilege to accompany a high-level Congressional delegation to Spain to combat the existential threat of our time: the climate crisis," Pelosi said in a statement on Saturday. 

"Taking action to protect our planet is a public health decision for clean air and clean water for our children, an economic decision for creating the green, good-paying jobs of the future, a national security decision to address resource competition and climate migration and also a moral decision to be good stewards of God's creation and pass a sustainable, healthy planet to the next generation," she said. "On behalf of the U.S. Congress, I am proud to travel to COP25 to reaffirm the commitment of the American people to combating the climate crisis."

In 2016, attendees at the COP25 summit in Paris, France, announced they would sign a pact to lower greenhouse gas emissions, a deal commonly known as the Paris Climate Agreement. President Trump announced the U.S. would withdraw from the agreement shortly after taking office, and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced earlier this month the U.S. had begun formal proceedings to pull the U.S. out.

The withdrawal process takes a year and will not become official until at least a day after the 2020 presidential election. The terms of the deal say no country can withdraw in the first three years, so November 4, 2019, was the earliest the U.S. could actually start the withdrawal process. Climate experts largely agree that pulling out will hurt efforts to fight global warming.

"Global objectives can't be met unless everybody does their part and the U.S. has to play the game," said Appalachian State University environmental sciences professor Gregg Marland, who is part of a global effort to track carbon dioxide emissions, in an interview with the Associated Press earlier this month. "We're the second biggest player. What happens to the game if we take our ball and go home?"

The climate summit in Madrid is taking place shortly after the UN released its annual "emissions gap" report showing the amount of greenhouse gases being pumped into the atmosphere hitting a new high last year, despite the pledges by several countries to reduce them.

Current national pledges would leave the world 5.8 degrees Fahrenheit warmer by 2100 than pre-industrial times, with dramatic consequences for life on Earth, according to the report. A fivefold increase in measures pledged so far would be needed in order to limit the increase to 2.7 degrees, the goal of the climate agreement.

Meanwhile, students around the world skipped school Friday to protest global warming. Demonstrations in Madrid, Tokyo and Melbourne were billed as a "Global Day of Action" ahead of the summit in Madrid.

Mr. Trump is unlikely to attend the summit, but the administration will send a small delegation of career diplomats to represent the U.S., Bloomberg reported. Mr. Trump is set to head to London next week to meet with other world leaders and mark the 70th anniversary of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) alliance.

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