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Climate activist Greta Thunberg chides Sen. Ted Cruz’s preference for a ‘Pittsburgh Accord’

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Teenage global climate-change activist Greta Thunberg, who can boast over 4.6 million followers on Twitter and her own postage stamp, welcomed U.S. President Joe Biden’s return to the Paris Accord this week, and she didn’t let a chance to rib Sen. Ted Cruz, who called resumption of U.S. membership anti-American, slip by.

The voluntary, UN-directed pact created five years ago at a meeting of delegates in the French capital counts nearly 190 countries as signatories. It is an updated version of what critics called flawed but meaningful accords first signed in Kyoto and Copenhagen. Then-president Trump pulled the U.S. from the Paris Agreement in November basing his decision, he said, on allegations of negligence from developing giants China and India and the impact on U.S. jobs. Many U.S. tech and consumer companies have aligned their own climate goals with the intent of the Paris pact and the Chamber of Commerce has gotten on board, conditionally.

Texas Republican Cruz, who has faced criticism and potentially more serious consequences amid allegations his rhetoric helped incite the insurrection at the U.S. Capitol Jan. 6, isn’t laying low this week. He condemned Biden’s day-one executive order to rejoin the global alliance, tweeting at one point that “by rejoining the Paris Climate Agreement, President Biden indicates he’s more interested in the views of the citizens of Paris than in the jobs of the citizens of Pittsburgh.”

“This agreement will do little to affect the climate and will harm the livelihoods of Americans,” Cruz tweeted.

Sweden-based Thunberg expressed her pleasure with the U.S. return partly in jest.

The response of the green-minded teen was considerably less blue than an earlier exchange between Cruz and actor Seth Rogen. Read that exchange.

Pittsburgh-not-Paris is a recycled sentiment expressed by Trump in 2017, one chided by Pittsburgh itself whose leadership was proud of its climate-change commitment.

At the start of 2020, clean-energy employment, which includes wind and solar but also other tech-based roles, increased for the fifth straight year since clean-energy advocate E2 started tracking the data. The growing sector claims 3.3 million workers nationwide, slowing slightly due to COVID-19. The sector is on a different trajectory than traditional fossil-fuel
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job growth.

While California remained the nation’s leader in clean energy jobs through 2019, states as diverse in size and structure as Texas and Massachusetts also are in the top ten. Florida, North Carolina and Georgia continued to lead the South, while Michigan, Illinois and Ohio led the Midwest.

Biden and the Democrats have a narrow advantage in the new Congress, which means Republican and industry support is still needed for meaningful legislative action. Biden has pledged to spend $2 trillion on climate change.

Read: Here’s what Biden’s early actions mean for oil’s outlook

And: Biden administration suspends new oil, gas drilling permits on federal land

Seven Democratic senators on Thursday asked the Senate Ethics Committee to investigate the actions of Cruz and Sen. Josh Hawley “to fully understand their role” in the Jan. 6 insurrection.

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