U.S. Sen. Brian Schatz is part of a group of 10 Democratic senators who have flown to Paris to take part in negotiations over the enormous international climate change accord taking place there.
The delegation is being led by Senate Foreign Relations Committee ranking member Sen. Ben Cardin of Marlyland. The group includes Sens. Sheldon Whitehouse of Rhode Island, Jeanne Shaheen of New Hampshire, Al Franken of Minnesota and Cory Booker of New Jersey.
Within minutes of arriving at the 2015 United Nations Climate Change Conference, also known as COP21, Schatz was meeting with leaders such as Mexico President Felipe Calderon and Unilever CEO Paul Polman, who earned the United Nations Environment Programme’s “Champion of the Earth” award earlier this year. On his Twitter feed, Schatz sounded enthusiastic about the job ahead.
“I’ve landed in Paris for the #COP21 #Climate Change talks,” he tweeted. “Now let’s get to work.”
Cardin released a statement on behalf of the group, underscoring the senators’ intentions.
“U.S. leadership has played a critical role in bringing us to this time in history and we will not walk away from this global opportunity,” said the statement, in part. “The Paris agreement will help create jobs in America and around the world. It will continue to diversify and strengthen economies, as well as protect public health and the environment.”
COP21 began Nov. 30 and is scheduled to continue through Dec. 11. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi is reportedly organizing a delegation of Democratic representatives to travel to the summit next week, while Kentucky Republican Rep. Ed Whitfield is pulling together a GOP travel group to oppose President Obama’s greenhouse gas reduction targets.
This is the second time in two weeks that Schatz has been overseas and that a member of the Hawaii federal delegation has been in Paris. U.S. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard traveled there recently with Rep. Dana Rohrabacher, chair of the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Europe, Eurasia and Emerging Threats, after the terrorist attacks.
They met with senior level government officials regarding France’s response to the incidents that killed 130 and injured 368.
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