NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ - Rep. Frank Pallone Jr. is traveling some 3,500 miles to fight for the environment.

Pallone (NJ-06), who has offices on Church Street in New Brunswick, is joining a congressional delegation led by Speaker Nancy Pelosi to Madrid for the 2019 United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.

Known informally as COP25, the conference is designed to take the next crucial steps in the UN climate change process. Following agreement on the implementation guidelines of the Paris Agreement at COP 24 in Poland last year, a key objective is to complete several matters with respect to the implementation of the Paris Climate Change Agreement.

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For Pallone, who, as the chair of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, stands as one of the most powerful people on Capitol Hill, climate change is an everyday reality. Whether he is fighting to get polluters to pay to clean up Superfund sites or trying to stem the tide of rising sea levels, Pallone stands in diametric opposition to President Donald Trump on several key environmental matters - not the least of which is the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions at the heart of the Paris Climate Accord.

“I’m proud to join Speaker Pelosi and other congressional environmental leaders in attending COP25 to demonstrate to the world our continued and strong commitment to the Paris Climate Accord,” said Pallone in a press release. “I oppose President Trump’s withdrawal from the Paris Climate Accord and will continue to fight to ensure we remain a part of this landmark global agreement.”

Pallone said the United States would not officially withdraw from the Paris Climate Agreement until after the 2020 election. The next president could quickly rejoin the accord, he said.

In the meantime, Pallone is leading an effort in the Energy and Commerce Committee to draft legislation with the goal of achieving a 100% clean energy economy by 2050. This plan is consistent with the global scientific community’s consensus that meeting this target is necessary to avoid the most catastrophic effects of the climate crisis. Pallone hopes to have his proposal ready by the end of this year. 

Pallone said COP25 is particularly important to coastal states, like New Jersey, because of its emphasis on the oceans.  

“COP25 will focus on the devastating impacts climate change is having on our oceans.  A recent report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change confirmed what many Americans are already experiencing – less productive oceans, rising sea levels and more frequent extreme weather events. I look forward to discussing ways that we can collectively work together to address ocean issues that are seriously undermining entire marine ecosystems, fresh water, fisheries and coastal economies,” Pallone said.

Pallone called the president's call to break from the Paris Climate Accord dangerous and shortsighted.

"We want the world to know that we are still in and are committed to combating climate change with bold and aggressive action," Pallone said. "The bottom line is the countries that are out front on climate action will benefit the most in terms of innovation, job creation and economic growth. It would be foolish for the United States not to take the lead."