Last week, Donald J. Trump announced that he made the decision to withdraw the United States from the Paris Climate Accord (PCA) in order to preserve America’s “sovereignty.” This move generally caused applause on the right and outrage on the left. However, many have been quiet since Trump’s decision.
One of the quietest has been Congresswoman Barbara Comstock. Though she took the time to announce that she “stands with” the UK after the London Bridge attack, and congratulated participants in a local fun run, and posted photos of her campaign team working to get fellow republicans elected to office, she had no words on the impending withdrawal from the Paris Climate Accord.
Staffers in Comstock’s office are quick to point out that she was one of a handful of signatories on a one-page, unfunded, nonbinding resolution introduced in the House last March, “committing to work constructively” toward “economically viable” solutions “to study and address the causes and effects of measured changes to our global and regional climates.”
Does Ms. Comstock consider the Paris Climate Accord to fit the bill? No one yet knows, as she has so far refused to make a statement.
Why is it important that Barbara Comstock denounce Trump’s decision to withdraw from the PCA? As the Working Families Party explains, “Working families and everyday people across America and the world will suffer dire consequences if we do not take immediate action on climate change. Inaction on climate will hurt our economy, our health, and future generations.” As one of the world’s biggest polluter, second only to China, it is paramount that the United States play an important lead role in solving this problem.
This is theoretically in-line with the Resolution Comstock signed, which states that “there is increasing recognition that we can and must take meaningful and responsible action now to address this issue.” However, the language comes with an important loop-hole: that said efforts “should not constrain the United States economy, especially in regards to global competitiveness.”
…And therein lies the rub. Does Barbara Comstock believe Trump’s assertion that the PCA would cost millions of American jobs? As the Washington Post explains, parties to the Paris Climate Accord have the sovereignty to adjust their individual requirements, noting that, “The U.S. can unilaterally change its emissions target under the agreement — it doesn’t have to ‘renegotiate’ it — and financial contributions are voluntary.”
In his speech, Trump claimed that, even if the U.S. remained within the agreement, the climate would only see an improvement of only “two-tenths of one degree” over the next ten years. Whereas, according to the Washington Post, scientists at Massachusetts Institute of Technology predict that it would “reduce the planet’s warming by the year 2100 down from 4.2 degrees Celsius (7.6 degrees Fahrenheit) to 3.3 degrees Celsius (5.9 degrees Fahrenheit), or nearly a full degree Celsius.”
So, the Paris Climate Accord is voluntary, can be adjusted to meet the United States’ economic needs, and is predicted to have a significant effect on slowing climate change. Add to that Ms. Comstock’s willingness to support efforts to mitigate climate change, and it seems like it would be a no-brainer that she would support our continued participation in this world-wide effort.
Unfortunately, it’s not that simple for Ms. Comstock. Money plays a significant factor in this vulnerable Representative’s circumstances. Barbara Comstock has received thousands of dollars from multiple GOP leadership political action committees (PACs) to fill her coffers in anticipation of a toss-up race to keep her seat in 2018.
Many of our nation’s top Republican leaders have signed a pledge promulgated by anti-environmental titans and “Dark Money” purveyors, the Koch brothers. This pledge, called the “No Climate Tax Pledge,” was started by the Americans for Prosperity Group, a super PAC established and funded by the Koch brothers.
The New York Times describes the Kochs as “Kansas-based billionaires who run a chain of refineries (which can process 600,000 barrels of crude oil per day) as well as a subsidiary that owns or operates 4,000 miles of pipelines that move crude oil.” The pledge states, ““I will oppose any legislation relating to climate change that includes a net increase in government revenue.” Although Rep. Comstock is not listed as having signed this pledge, herself, records show that many of her major benefactors have signed, or have a direct interest in it.
More than two-thirds of Comstock’s recent donations are from deep-pocketed PACs, mainly run by the GOP leadership. To name just a few, in her first quarter FEC filing for 2017, Ms. Comstock listed $5,000 from New Pioneers, $1,000 from Liberty & Prosperity, $2,000 from In the Arena, $5,000 from Eye of the Tiger, $5,000 from Jobs, Economy & the Future, $5,000 from Gregg PAC, $2,000 from the Jackie PAC. This is NOT an exhaustive list. Comstock reportedly raised over half a million dollars in the first quarter, and the majority of that came from PACs funded by anti-Paris Climate Accord GOP leadership:
Despite Barbara Comstock’s documented reluctance to go on record with an opinion on anything remotely controversial, and despite the many thousands of dollars she has received from “no-tax pledge” supporting PACs, constituents from District 10 still plan to rally outside her Sterling office on Tuesday, to call on our Representative to make a statement condemning Trump’s anti-environment, pro-Koch brothers decision to pull out of the PCC.
Interested in participating? Click HERE.
Can’t attend but want to add your voice? CONTACT Barbara Comstock’s office and tell her how you feel about Trump’s decision, and how she can best represent you and your future generations.