Donald Trump and Republicans Continue Efforts to Curb Climate Change Action—at Home and Abroad

donald, trump, republicans, climate, change
Students participate in a global walkout for Climate Change in downtown Los Angeles, on March 15, 2019. Young people, inspired by activist Greta Thunberg, called on politicians to act on climate change. Frederic J. Brown/AFP/Getty Images

President Donald Trump and the Republican Party are continuing their efforts to curb domestic and international climate change action by either trying to water down eco-friendly proposals or reject them altogether.

On Thursday, The Washington Post reported that the Trump administration had tried to strip climate change references from an international statement from the Arctic Council, a group of eight countries that meet every two years to discuss policy in the region. According to climate scientists, the Arctic is warming nearly twice as fast as the rest of the planet.

One official told the publication that, in preparation for the group's upcoming summit in Finland, the U.S. "indicated it's resistance to any mention of climate change whatsoever" in the joint statement to be released following the meeting.

According to the Post, the Trump administration specifically tried to get rid of the phrase "climate change" entirely and any references to the 2016 Paris international climate agreement, a treaty that President Trump quickly abandoned after entering office.

These efforts have reportedly caused tension between the U.S. and the other nations in the Arctic Council, including Canada, Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, Russia and Sweden.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov slammed the U.S. for attempts to remove climate change language during a panel session at the International Arctic Forum in early April.

"Our American colleagues strongly oppose even mentioning the Paris climate agreement in the strategy, as well as the United Nations' 2030 sustainable development goals," Lavrov said. "All others are confident that the strategy will be watered down if we fail to do that. So serious work lies ahead."

On Thursday news also broke that Senate Republicans were blocking a House bill that would force Trump to keep the U.S. in the Paris climate accord. The bill was passed by the Democrat-controlled House on Thursday morning.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell told his colleagues that the legislation was a "futile gesture to handcuff the U.S. economy through the ill-fated Paris deal" and that it would "go nowhere here in the Senate."

The climate accord, signed by former President Barack Obama, is a global effort meant to combat climate change and it's catastrophic effects. More than 190 countries have adopted the international treaty.

But Trump swiftly withdrew the U.S. from the agreement in June 2017. In his speech announcing the change, Trump reasoned that the Paris accord placed "draconian financial and economic burdens" on the U.S.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said on Thursday morning that it's "time to end denial about climate change and start listening to the facts. This is about science, science, science."

But Trump has repeatedly railed against climate change science throughout his presidency. He even once said that he had a "natural instinct for science" that informs his understanding of climate issues.

In November 2018, Trump dismissed a study produced by his own administration (involving 13 federal agencies and over 300 climate scientists) warning of the dangers of climate change.

"I don't believe it," Trump told reporters after the study's release. "Right now, we're at the cleanest we've ever been, and that's very important to me. But if we're clean but every other place on Earth on is dirty, that's not so good."