- When Republican Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas threw cold water on President Joe Biden’s decision to rejoin the Paris climate agreement, Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto was hit in the crossfire.
- Cruz condemned Biden’s executive order and said “President Biden indicates that he’s more interested in the views of the citizens of Paris than in the jobs of the citizens of Pittsburgh.”
- “Last time I checked, Sen. Cruz did not represent Pennsylvania,” Peduto told Insider.
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When Republican Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas threw cold water on President Joe Biden’s decision to rejoin the Paris climate agreement, a Pennsylvania mayor was unintentionally hit in the crossfire.
Hours after being sworn-in on January 20, Biden issued more than a dozen executive orders, including one to rejoin the Paris accords to reduce emissions. Biden’s predecessor, Donald Trump, pulled out of the agreement early in his term, sparking concern around the world. The US is second-largest producer of carbon emissions, following China.
Cruz immediately responded to Biden’s executive action by issuing a statement condemning the decision as harming US jobs, and that “by signing this order, President Biden indicates that he’s more interested in the views of the citizens of Paris than in the jobs of the citizens of Pittsburgh.”
Cruz’s comments immediately caught the attention of Pittsburgh’s mayor, Democrat Bill Peduto, roughly 1,000 miles away from the Texas.
“Last time I checked, Sen. Cruz did not represent Pennsylvania,” Peduto told Insider, saying that Pittsburgh has a fast-growing base of renewal energy jobs and that the city hasn’t been dependent on the fossil fuel industry in five decades.
This was not the first time a Republican lawmaker invoked the city of Pittsburgh or other P-named cities in their opposition to a substantial, long-term investment in renewable energy.
When President Trump withdrew from the accord in 2017, he said in his press conference, “I was elected to represent the citizens of Pittsburgh, not Paris.”
While France is one of the 195 signatories of the Paris accord, the international agreement is not designed to appeal to or benefit Parisians in particular. The agreement was drafted by diplomats in Paris, similar to the way the Geneva Conventions for armed conflict and its treaties around the world originated in Geneva.
Republican Rep. Lauren Boebert of Colorado, the freshman congresswoman who brands herself as an uncompromising antithesis of progressive lawmakers like Alexandria-Ocasio Cortez, also chimed in by tweeting: “I work for the people of Pueblo, not the people of Paris.”
(Pueblo, a city in Boebert’s congressional district, is home to Vestas’ world’s-largest wind turbine tower manufacturing plant. The company invested $US1 billion for its four factories throughout Colorado and employs over 3,400 people in the state, 800 of whom are based in Pueblo. The factory manager previously said one of the reasons to be based in Pueblo was because of “Colorado’s commitment to growing its renewable energy industry.”)
Many Republican lawmakers like Cruz and Boebert have stated they are not opposed to initiatives to reduce carbon emissions, but that they are concerned about declining employment numbers.
According to Mayor Peduto; however, the data these Republican lawmakers rely on do not paint the full picture. In Pennsylvania, clean energy jobs grew by 6% in 2018, five times faster than the state’s overall employment growth, according to Environmental Entrepreneurs. In a state where 70% of residents believe global warming is occuring, Pennsylvania ranked fourth-place for the fastest-growing state in the renewable energy industry.
“What Ted Cruz is doing, is that he’s threatening all those who have moved to create this next Pittsburgh,” Peduto said, adding that the senator’s comments were “a simple political jab at what we were, and not what we are.”
“The fact is that the Pittsburgh he refers to is not the Pittsburgh of today,” Peduto added. “His idea that this is a city that survives on heavy industry and on fossil fuel basically hasn’t been that way since [the 1970s].”
But Cruz appears to have cashed in on the viral catchphrase â€” his campaign website is advertising bumper stickers saying “PITTSBURGH > PARIS.”
“I would prefer if he would leave us out of his political campaign slogans,” Peduto said. “Obviously the people of Pittsburgh feel much differently than he does.”
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