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Ted Cruz under fire for saying Biden prioritizing 'citizens of Paris' by rejoining climate deal

Yuliya Talmazan
·2 min read
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Senator Ted Cruz repeated Donald Trump's America-centric climate rhetoric as President Joe Biden rejoined the Paris agreement on his first day in office.

Cruz, R-Texas, said in a tweet late Wednesday that by returning America to the multinational climate accord, Biden has indicated he was more interested "in the views of the citizens of Paris than in the jobs of the citizens of Pittsburgh."

When Trump announced the U.S. withdrawal from the agreement, the biggest international effort to curb climate change, in 2017 he said: "I was elected to represent the citizens of Pittsburgh, not Paris."

Trump said the accord disadvantaged the U.S. — part of his broader strategy to loosen restrictions on domestic oil, gas and coal producers. The U.S. is the world’s second-largest greenhouse gas emitter behind China.

Cruz’s comment on Wednesday was met with criticism on Twitter, with users pointing out the obvious: the Paris agreement is a multinational effort.

France was just one of the 196 participants to commit to the 2015 accord, which aims to keep the increase in average temperatures worldwide “well below” 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit).

Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., responded to Cruz in a tweet, saying: "Quick question: do you also believe the Geneva Convention was about the views of the citizens of Geneva?"

The Geneva Convention, a set of protocols that regulates armed conflict, takes its origins in Geneva, Switzerland, but is recognized by nearly every country in the world.

Ocasio-Cortez introduced a sweeping policy resolution called "Green New Deal" that called for tackling climate change by moving the U.S. off fossil fuels in 2019, but it was defeated in the Senate.

Pittsburgh’s mayor, Bill Peduto, also reacted to Cruz on Twitter, saying: "Here we go, again…”

Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg quipped in an apparent reference to Cruz's tweet: "So happy that USA has finally rejoined the Pittsburgh Agreement. Welcome back!"

Meanwhile, Sen. Marsha Blackburn, R-Tenn., also criticized Biden's decision to rejoin the Paris agreement, saying in a tweet it will cost American jobs and "force households and small business to pay higher utility bills." It's not clear what the costs of the U.S. rejoining the agreement would be — if any — to Americans, or how it would impact utility bills.

Biden’s rejoining of the Paris accord marks the start of a major policy reversal for the U.S. on the international stage, but he is already facing pushback at home.

Moments after Biden signed an executive order to rejoin the accord on Wednesday, a group of Republican senators called on Biden to submit his plan to re-engage the U.S. in the agreement to lawmakers for "review and consideration."

The senators’ move reflects the deep-seated political divisions over climate policy that could hamper Biden’s ambitious $2 trillion climate plan.

Reuters contributed to this report.