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Tonko Unveils Principles to Advance Climate Consensus in Congress

Framework includes nine criteria by which any climate proposal can be evaluated

WASHINGTON—Paul Tonko, Chairman of the Energy & Commerce Subcommittee on Environment & Climate Change, unveiled his much-anticipated ‘Framework for Climate Action in the U.S. Congress’ today during a keynote address at the 2019 C2ES Climate Leadership Conference in Baltimore, MD. Tonko outlined nine principles during his speech and in the report, which he says are intended to serve as a common framework for climate action as well as a tool for evaluating proposals for addressing the climate crisis that have been proposed or may be considered by Congress.

“Americans are living, and dying, in the path of unprecedented flooding, raging wildfires, and battering storms driven by Earth’s changing climate,” Tonko said in a letter prefacing his climate framework. “Regardless of the origins of our predicament, we have inherited these conditions. It falls to us to set aside past disagreements and rise together to meet this challenge. We agree that climate change is real. We agree humans are driving it. We agree that we need to build solutions that meet the scale and urgency of the crisis we face. The principles outlined in this document are meant to provide a framework that moves the lines of our agreement forward and helps us build a comprehensive national climate action plan together.”

This document release marks the first in a series following a more than year-long process Tonko has undertaken to build comprehensive national climate legislation. That process has included extensive outreach to hundreds of experts and stakeholders including climate scientists, economists, businesses, labor organizations, environmentalists, industry groups, think tanks, and other Members of Congress.

Tonko’s climate principles include:

  • Science-based targets should be set to achieve greenhouse gas neutrality by mid-century
  • A clean U.S. economy must be strong, competitive and fair
  • Climate action should invest in America’s future
  • Climate action should deliver a just & equitable transition
  • Climate action should protect low-income households
  • Climate action should strengthen community resilience to better withstand new climate realities
  • Climate action should empower state, local, tribal, and territorial governments
  • Climate action should avoid harm to first movers
  • Climate action should create stable and predictable policies


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