(WASHINGTON, D.C.) – Congressman Jamie Raskin (MD-08) joined Congresswoman Katie Hill (CA-25) and more than 100 Democratic colleagues, including 18 Committee Chairs, in sending a letter to President Donald Trump urging that any renegotiated NAFTA deal include binding climate standards as well as a commitment to remain in the Paris Climate Agreement.
“As the climate crisis grows, I’ve been charged with an urgent imperative: fight for the livelihood of my generation and generations to come,” Hill said. “The Paris Agreement represents the type of global cooperation that our trade deals should aspire to, and has the support of 185 countries, including our NAFTA trading partners. This is the most basic lens through which we should negotiate all trade deals.”
The current renegotiated NAFTA does not include the type of necessary binding climate standards that members of Congress and environmental organizations have been asking for over the last two years of negotiations. It also fails to mention the term climate change, continuing this administration’s complete denial of the underlying threat and science. With 76% of Americans now saying that climate change is a crisis or major problem, it’s common sense that our trade deals should support climate action.
“As written, Trump’s NAFTA 2.0 fully ignores the climate crisis, and fails to protect the future of our children and our planet,” said Ben Beachy, Director of Sierra Club's Living Economy program.“The Sierra Club thanks Congresswoman Katie Hill and the over 100 congressional leaders who are speaking up for our communities by making clear that a renegotiated NAFTA needs binding climate standards so that corporate polluters can no longer export their pollution and jobs.”
A copy of the letter can be found below.
As we work to replace the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), we have an opportunity to transcend partisan gridlock and outdated ideologies by addressing global challenges in a new way. To protect our communities, a renegotiated NAFTA should meaningfully address climate change – one of the most pressing challenges we face. This will require fundamental changes to the current deal on the table, which would undercut our climate goals by helping corporations shift climate pollution across borders, increase fossil fuel dependency, and challenge climate policies. To remove these climate threats and support workers and communities, the renegotiated NAFTA deal should include binding climate standards and be paired with a decision for the United States to remain in the Paris Climate Agreement.
These changes are essential to tackle one of the biggest challenges of the 21st century. It is laughable that we are now the only country in the world working to isolate ourselves from the critical and commonsense principles of the Paris Agreement. Our constituents and communities are already feeling the negative impacts of our changing climate. Sea level rise, increasingly frequent natural disasters, and extreme weather events are disrupting lives, causing economic hardship, and increasing financial pressure at all levels of government. We need to stand with our neighbors in Canada and Mexico as members of the Paris Agreement, and we need a North American trade deal that reinforces – not undermines – that agreement.
If we fail to address climate change in a wise and strategic manner, threats to our national security and long-term economic growth and prosperity will only escalate over the coming decades. According to the administration’s own 2018 National Climate Assessment, unabated global warming will contract the U.S. economy by 10 percent by the year 2100, and the United Nations estimates that costs to the global economy will reach $54 trillion -- more than half of today’s global gross domestic product. To support American economic security and prosperity, a renegotiated NAFTA should include binding climate standards and be paired with a commitment to the Paris Agreement.
Though climate is not the only issue that must be addressed in a renegotiated NAFTA, it is a major issue that must be addressed. The passage of H.R.9, the Climate Action Now Act, earlier this year demonstrated our commitment to remaining in the Paris Agreement and established it as a top priority. Given the urgency and scale of the transformation needed to address these threats to American prosperity, we urge the administration to seize this moment to advance progress across multiple fronts. Future generations will thank us for it.
Pete Aguilar, Nanette Barragán, Karen Bass, Julia Brownley, Salud Carbajal, Tony Cardenas, André Carson, Matt Cartwright, Ed Case, Kathy Castor, David Cicilline, Yvette D. Clarke, Emanuel Cleaver II, Steve Cohen, Gerald Connolly, Elijah Cummings, Peter DeFazio, Mark DeSaulnier, Ted Deutch, Debbie Dingell, Mike Doyle, Eliot Engel, Anna G. Eshoo, Adriano Espaillat, Bill Foster, Ruben Gallego, Chuy Garcia, Josh Gottheimer, Al Green, Raúl Grijalva, Deb Haaland, Alcee L. Hastings, Katie Hill, Eleanor Holmes Norton, Jared Huffman, Sheila Jackson Lee, Pramila Jayapal, Hakeem Jeffries, Henry C. “Hank” Johnson, Jr., Marcy Kaptur, Bill Keating, Joe Kennedy, Ro Khanna, Ann Kirkpatrick, Wm. Lacy Clay, Brenda L. Lawrence, Barbara Lee, Andy Levin, Ted Lieu, Zoe Lofgren, Alan Lowenthal, Nita M. Lowey, Ben Ray Luján, Stephen F. Lynch, Carolyn Maloney, Donald McEachin, James P. McGovern, Jerry McNerney, Gregory Meeks, Grace Meng, Gwen Moore, Joe Morelle, Debbie Mucarsel-Powell, Jerrold Nadler, Grace Napolitano, Joe Neguse, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Ilhan Omar, Frank Pallone Jr., Donald Payne Jr., Ed Perlmutter, Chellie Pingree, Mark Pocan, Ayanna Pressley, David E. Price, Mike Quigley, Jamie Raskin, Cedric Richmond, Lisa Blunt Rochester, Lucille Roybal-Allard, Raul Ruiz, Dutch Ruppersberger, Bobby L. Rush, John P. Sarbanes, Mary Gay Scanlon, Bobby Scott, José E. Serrano, Donna Shalala, Brad Sherman, Adam Smith, Darren Soto, Jackie Speier, Tom Suozzi, Eric Swallwell, Mark Takano, Bennie G. Thompson, Dina Titus, Rashida Tlaib, Paul Tonko, Lori Trahan, David Trone, Jeff Van Drew, Juan Vargas, Nydia Velázquez, Mark Veasey, Debbie Wasserman Schultz, Bonnie Watson Coleman, Marc Veasey, Peter Welch, John Yarmuth