Is Climate Change Finally Becoming a Bipartisan Issue?
For conservatives, climate change has often been the “third rail” of politics – even acknowledging the reality of climate change could be hazardous, let alone advocating for solutions. But that seems to finally be shifting. Last week, two Republican members of the House of Representatives took steps to create a bipartisan Climate Solutions Caucus. The purpose of the group is “to educate members on economically-viable options to reduce climate risk and protect our nation’s economy, security, infrastructure, agriculture, water supply, and public safety.”
The founding members of the caucus are both from Florida, which is feeling the effects of climate change more severely than anywhere else in the country. Local politicians in South Florida can’t afford to ignore the increased flooding, storm surges, and a water supply that’s in danger of contamination. As this ThinkProgress article points out, the caucus is focused more on addressing risks than actually fighting the causes of climate change, but it’s still a giant step in the right direction – and talking about preparedness tends to resonate well with people who may not typically be open to climate change messages.
By Samantha Page, climate reporter for ThinkProgress
A bipartisan caucus in the U.S House of Representatives — on climate change?
Yes, this is really happening.
Two congressmen — Rep. Carlos Curbelo (R) and Rep. Theodore Deutch (D), both of Florida, filed paperwork this week to create the Climate Solutions Caucus.
The group plans to look at options to address climate change and will serve “to educate members on economically-viable options to reduce climate risk and protect our nation’s economy, security, infrastructure, agriculture, water supply, and public safety,” according to the petition filed with the Committee on House Administration, which oversees caucuses — formal groups of legislators who meet regularly to advance specific legislative agendas.
“This is music to our ears,” Steve Valk, a spokesperson for Citizen’s Climate Lobby, told ThinkProgress. “This is what we’ve kind of been waiting for.”
Over the past two decades, climate change has moved from being a bipartisan concern to a hotly-contested, highly-politicized issue in Washington. None of the current Republican presidential candidates accept — or admit that they accept — mainstream climate science. The chair of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee is perhaps best known for using the existence of a snowball to doubt the existence of climate change.
This political climate — no pun intended — can be incredibly difficult for Republican representatives who are worried about their districts being washed away by the rising oceans or any of the other scary scenarios rising global temperatures portend.
Image credit: Dylan Petrohilos/ThinkProgress