Shaheen, Colleagues Introduce Comprehensive International Climate Change Legislation

April 15, 2021

(Washington, DC) – Today, U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), a senior member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, joined U.S. Senator Bob Menendez (D-NJ) and a group of Senators in introducing new international climate change legislation in support of President Biden’s ambitious climate action agenda. The United States Climate Leadership in International Mitigation, Adaptation, and Technology Enhancement Act of 2021 (U.S. CLIMATE Act) represents the most comprehensive, foreign policy focused climate change bill introduced in Congress to date.

The U.S. CLIMATE Act, which is being introduced on the heels of the Leaders’ Summit on Climate being convened by the White House, lays out a bold vision to help restore American global leadership in combating the climate crisis through a new suite of climate foreign policy, finance and foreign assistance, and climate diplomacy programs and initiatives. The legislation also directs U.S. bilateral and multilateral engagements and strategies on climate and improves integration of climate policy into all aspects of U.S. foreign affairs.

Joining Senators Shaheen and Menendez in introducing the U.S. CLIMATE Act are U.S. Senators Mazie Hirono (D-HI), Ben Cardin (D-MD), Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Brian Schatz (D-HI), Chris Murphy (D-CT), Tim Kaine (D-VA), Cory Booker (D-NJ) and Chris Van Hollen (D-MD).

“Climate change is an existential threat that is already compromising our environment, public health, transportation infrastructure, economies and even military installations. And it isn’t just us – this is a global phenomenon. It is a global phenomenon that demands a global response,” said Senator Shaheen. “The U.S. CLIMATE Act is bold, forward-looking legislation that will help create a foundation for a new era of American climate diplomacy, allowing the U.S. to reassert its role as a leader in global climate action. Climate change is here and there’s no time to waste – I urge leaders in Congress to move quickly on this legislation.”

The text of the U.S. CLIMATE Act of 2021 can be found HERE.  A section-by-section summary can be found HERE. Key elements of the legislation include:

Makes Climate Action Central to U.S. Diplomacy & National Security Planning

  • Makes climate change a cross-cutting imperative of the State Department by calling for enhanced integration and coordination of climate action across State Dept. bureaus and various federal agencies responsible for executing U.S. foreign policy.
  • Provides critical policy and authorities to resume U.S. leadership on international climate cooperation. 
  • Integrates climate science and forecasting into national security planning.
  • Integrates “The Women and Climate Change Act” to address the disproportionate effect climate change has on women and girls globally.

Strengthens U.S. Bilateral and Multilateral Engagement on Climate Change

  • Encourages U.S. cooperation and special programs with Mexico, Canada, China, India, the European Union, the Caribbean countries, Brazil and the Amazon region, Indonesia, and in Sub-Saharan Africa.
  • Supports action to restore and meet U.S. climate obligations to ICAO, the Montreal Protocol, the GCF, and the Paris Agreement, including with respect to methane and other highly potent greenhouse gases, and encourages leadership in pursuit of climate mitigation actions to address global transportation and deforestation emissions.

Provides Resources, Authorities, and Policy for Restoring U.S. Leadership on Climate Change by Maximizing U.S. Economic Opportunity in the Global Clean Energy Economy

  • Establishes a range of new international climate change mitigation and adaptation assistance, finance tools, and initiatives at USAID, the Treasury Department, the State Department, and the DFC.
  • Refocuses energy specific assistance programs to support clean energy development.

Senator Shaheen is a leader in the Senate for safeguarding our environment and combating the effects of climate change. As a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Shaheen traveled to Paris to participate in high-level discussions at the 2015 United Nations Climate Change Conference that led to the international Paris Climate Accord. She introduced the International Climate Accountability Act – legislation to prevent President Trump from using funds to withdraw from the Paris Climate Accord and direct the Trump administration to develop a strategic plan for the U.S. to meet its commitment under the Agreement. Shaheen also introduced widely praised bipartisan legislation with Senator Rob Portman (R-OH) to save American homes and businesses billions of dollars in energy costs and dramatically reduce the United States’ carbon footprint. Shaheen is a founding member of the bipartisan Senate Climate Solutions Caucus, which brings together an equal number of Republicans and Democrats to craft and advance bipartisan solutions to address climate change.