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WASHINGTON — At a Senate Armed Services Committee (SASC) hearing on global security challenges today, U.S. Senator Kevin Cramer (R-ND) outlined his support for the United States rejoining the Paris Climate Accord as a way to insert its leadership on the world stage and respond to the rise of adversaries like China.

“When it comes to the Paris Accord, I am probably the oddest member of Congress from a fossil fuel producing state,” said Senator Cramer. “While it was aspirational - not regulatory - the one thing I fear more than a large international body trying to do good things is a large international body without us at the head of the table.”

Senator Cramer questioned panelists Dr. Thomas Wright, Senior Fellow for Foreign Policy at the Brookings Institution, and Lt. Gen. (ret.) H.R. McMaster, former National Security Adviser for President Trump, about whether China should continue to be treated as a developing country since it has increasingly become an adversary to the United States.

“There is a wide array of strategies needed,” said Dr. Wright. “Part of that is working with China, but part of it is working with other countries to create an environment in which China has to make better decisions.”

“It is important to recognize China is the leader in renewable manufacturing because they stole our intellectual property and subsidized the manufacturing of solar panels and wind turbines at levels far below the normal market and dumped them on the international market to drive U.S. companies that gave them that technology out of the market. The same dynamic is at work now with batteries and electric cars,” said Lt. Gen. McMaster. “It’s important for us to recognize this is not a free, fair, and reciprocal trade relationship ... and they have never played by the rules.” 

Senator Cramer agreed the United States should use its position in Paris to change China’s behavior, offering clean coal technologies as an example of a potential market which would benefit from global support and could be in competition with China.

Senator Cramer concluded his comments reminding the panelists of the U.S. Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) deal with power group Engie which France’s government cancelled, opting to import Russian LNG instead.

“You don’t have to be an expert to realize that’s a national security problem, but worse than that, the natural gas from Russia emits more emissions than the LNG coming from the United States,” said Senator Cramer. “I would like to see us reform Paris by being in Paris.”

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