House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) is heading to United Nations climate talks in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt, on Wednesday after the razor-thin midterm elections that remain undecided.
Pelosi will lead a delegation with 13 other House Democrats, including Energy and Commerce Chair Frank Pallone (D-N.J.), Ways and Means Chair Richard Neal (D-Mass.), Foreign Affairs Chair Gregory Meeks (D-N.Y.) and Select Committee on the Climate Crisis Chair Kathy Castor (D-Fla.).
“At COP27, as the world stands ‘Together For Implementation,’ our distinguished and experienced delegation will engage in meetings with our partners — as well as civil society, youth and business leaders — to discuss the work that must be done to continue our progress to advance climate action and protect the planet,” Pelosi said in a statement.
Pelosi told her caucus Wednesday she would travel to Egypt and head home by the end of this week, according to a person who attended the conference call. President Joe Biden also plans to attend.
Democrats are likely to tout the Inflation Reduction Act, the historic investment in clean energy and climate policy signed into law over the summer. But international climate aid talks and the U.S. midterms are casting a shadow over this year’s negotiations.
Republicans appear likely to take control of the House, albeit by narrower margins than anticipated, which would end Pelosi’s speakership and limit opportunities for further climate legislation in the near future.
Delegates to COP 27 are for the first time discussing whether rich nations should send financial aid to the developing world to make up for damages wrought by historic greenhouse gas emissions. In the United States, Congress would have to appropriate that money, and the GOP has long opposed international climate aid of all kinds.
There are also emerging tensions with U.S. economic partners in Europe about whether certain clean energy provisions of the Inflation Reduction Act violate World Trade Organization protectionism rules (Climatewire, Nov. 7). Democratic lawmakers could face questions about the issue at COP 27.
The House delegation is one of several congressional groups going to Egypt.
Some Senate Democrats are headed there Wednesday. Environment and Public Works Chair Tom Carper (D-Del.), who planned to join, has tested positive for Covid-19, his office announced, so he will not attend.
House Republicans, led by Rep. John Curtis (R-Utah), are also going to Egypt with conservative clean-energy organizations (Greenwire, Nov. 3).
Reporter Emma Dumain contributed.