Support The Climate Solutions Caucus

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The bipartisan Climate Solutions Caucus in the U.S. House of Representatives is a bipartisan group working on solutions for climate change. The purpose of the caucus is to “explore policy options that address the impacts, causes and challenges of our changing climate.”

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What is the Climate Solutions Caucus?

The Climate Solutions Caucus is a bipartisan group in the U.S. House of Representatives working on solutions to climate change. The caucus grows evenly in a bipartisan fashion by bringing equal numbers of Republicans and Democrats on board. Originally formed in 2016, it was co-chaired by Republican Rep. Carlos Curbelo and Democratic Rep. Ted Deutch, both from Florida. Starting in the 116th Congress, the caucus is now co-chaired by Republican Rep. Francis Rooney and Democratic Rep. Ted Deutch. As these legislators work together and welcome more members of Congress into the caucus, we’re confident that Caucus members will identify and pass strong bipartisan climate legislation.

Has the Climate Solutions Caucus endorsed the Energy Innovation Act?

No, the Climate Solutions Caucus has not endorsed any legislation in the current Congress. However, CCL’s laser talk on the Climate Solutions Caucus emphasizes that, while members are "not required to support a carbon fee and dividend plan, we've been thrilled to see that all 10 sponsors of the Energy Innovation and Carbon Dividend Act of 2018 were Caucus members. We honor their commitment to the mission of depoliticizing our changing climate and have confidence the Caucus will continue to provide an important catalyst for enactment of sensible, effective and fair bipartisan climate legislation.” 

Take Action on the Climate Solutions Caucus

While we want the caucus members to feel our love, please do not call or send letters to their offices unless you are a constituent.

If you’re not a constituent, you can thank them through writing a letter to the editor acknowledging the caucus and its leadership and sharing posts on CCL's social media.

What is the purpose of the Climate Solutions Caucus?

The paperwork submitted when the caucus was formed mentions two specific aims: (1) “to educate members on economically-viable options to reduce climate risk” and (2) “to explore bipartisan policy options that address the impacts, causes, and challenges of our changing climate.” These two goals are addressed through caucus activities such as member-only conversations, staff briefings and legislative strategies.

Why does CCL support the Climate Solutions Caucus if it isn’t working on passing the Energy Innovation Act?

The Climate Solutions Caucus provides an important avenue to aid in the mission of depoliticizing discussions about how to address our changing climate. It provides a forum where members of the House—some of whom disagree with each other—can sit together in a safe space and engage in respectful discussions. Dr. Danny Richter, CCL’s Vice President of Government Affairs, points out that this depoliticization is critical to the ultimate success of legislation to address climate change. 

The caucus is making it safe and politically smart for elected officials to talk about and then implement solutions. Ignoring climate change is a party line for some Republicans. For others, who want to acknowledge and address the problem, the caucus offers a manageable first step. When members of Congress talk about climate change as an important issue, the grassroots follow their lead. 

The caucus gives its members a platform to talk about the issue, educate their constituencies, and show the benefits of climate action. Joining the caucus is like grabbing the first rung on a ladder. If members of Congress receive enough support for grabbing the first rung, they will be motivated to grab the next rung and the next one, eventually supporting major climate legislation.

What is the relationship between CCL and the Climate Solutions Caucus?

For the full story behind CCL’s involvement in the formation and growth of the CSC, read CCL’s blog on the Jay Butera story. Jay Butera is now on CCL’s Advisory Board, and he played a very large role in building relationships and nurturing the environment in which such a caucus could come to be. Since the founding of the caucus, CCL’s role has been to help grow its membership: bringing MOCs to the table through the requests of constituents within congressional districts. The caucus co-chairs, Republican Rep. Francis Rooney and Democratic Rep. Ted Deutch, set agendas for regular meetings and determine the priorities for the caucus. For more information, listen to Dr. Danny Richter and Jay Butera explore the history under the Watch and Listen tabs.

How do I get my member to join the Climate Solutions Caucus?
  • If a Republican is interested in meeting with or joining the Climate Solutions Caucus, they can reach out to Corey Schrodt:  Corey.Schrodt@mail.house.gov in Congressman Rooney's office.
  • If a Democrat is interested in joining the Climate Solutions Caucus, they can reach out to Congressman Ted Deutch's office with Josh Lipman: Joshua.Lipman@mail.house.gov. Let them know there is a “waiting list” for Democrats, as the limiting factor is Republicans who are willing to join.
  • While on the waiting list, a Democratic member of the House can:
    • Convince one of their Republican colleagues to join with them.
    • Help locally by connecting us with Republican leaders in the district with whom they have a relationship.
    • Join either the Safe Climate Caucus or the Sustainable Energy and Environment Caucus. Both groups are composed entirely of Democrats at present, but it’s still a way they can both show support and get connected.
What are the key messages about the Climate Solutions Caucus?

The Climate Solutions Caucus is a bipartisan group in the U.S. House of Representatives working on solutions to climate change. As these legislators work together and welcome more members of Congress onto the caucus, we’re confident that Climate Solutions Caucus members will identify and pass strong bipartisan climate legislation.

  • The Climate Solutions Caucus is depoliticizing the issue, making it safe and politically smart for elected officials to talk about—and then tackle—climate change.
  • Bipartisan is best. We get better, longer-lasting solutions with both parties at the table.
  • The Climate Solutions Caucus is already having an impact. It’s a process, and we see that process ramping up.
Is the Climate Solutions Caucus already having an impact?

Yes, the caucus is having an impact. Members of the caucus have voted together against an anti-climate amendment, spoken out against the Paris withdrawal, and quickly condemned offshore drilling expansions. Building consensus in Congress takes time and is an incredibly valuable process. As the caucus builds that consensus, we should be persistently encouraging, rather than cynical or suspicious.

The caucus has grown exponentially in the past and welcomed dozens of new members. By reaching 90 members in the 115th Congress and starting the 116th Congress with 61 members, it’s clear they’ve succeeded at making climate change a safe, smart topic for legislators to discuss. 

Why is bipartisanship so important?

Bipartisan is best. We get better, longer-lasting solutions with both parties at the table. Climate change is bigger than partisan politics. The considerable number of Republicans on the Climate Solutions Caucus is proof that climate change shouldn’t be a partisan issue. Climate change needs lasting legislative action and research demonstrates that when you look at what caused the public to change their opinions between 2002-2010, the most important factor was elected officials’ stances on the issue. (Brulle, Carmichael, and Jenkins, 2012; and updated again in 2016) If Republicans and Democrats on the Climate Solutions Caucus produce a bipartisan bill, their joint solution is likely to stick. Our climate can’t wait until the next election. It’s important for everyone currently in office to be moving forward on this issue, and the caucus helps them do that.

What happens when a member on the Climate Solutions Caucus leaves office?

The member they joined with maintains their membership. At the start of the 116th Congress, all returning members were retained in the caucus (20 Republicans and 41 Democrats) and two new Republicans were added. Going forward, members will join in bipartisan pairs.

What is the history of the Climate Solutions Caucus's activity?

In February of 2016, two Florida Congressmen formed the Climate Solutions Caucus.

By November of that first year, the caucus had grown to 20 members – 10 Democrats and 10 Republicans. After the 2016 election, it dropped to 9 Democrats and 6 Republicans due to retirements and losses, but it quickly recovered and continued to grow.

By November 2018, the caucus roster reached 90 members drawn equally from each party, a sign of accelerating interest in bipartisan problem-solving in general, and specifically with regard to climate change. After the 2018 election, 27 members either retired or lost their seats, but the new co-chairs plan to rebuild the membership and continue adding members in bipartisan pairs.

Summarized Timeline Of Climate Solutions Caucus Activity
  • June 20, 2019 - Official relaunch of the Climate Solutions Caucus for the 116th Congress with 20 Republicans and 41 Democrats returning, and two new Republicans joining.
  • June 27, 2018 – On the heels of CCL’s annual conference and lobby day in Washington, D.C., the Climate Solutions Caucus saw a wave of new members and grew to 84 members, including new representation in Kansas and Kentucky.
  • April 13, 2018 – Reps. Carlos Curbelo (R-FL) and Mia Love (R-UT), both caucus members, joined with Reps. Diana DeGette (D-CO) and Suzan DelBene (D-WA) to introduce H. Res. 825 (2018), a bipartisan resolution acknowledging the impact that climate change is having on outdoor recreation and supporting policies to address the problem.
  • February 23, 2018 – A bipartisan group of six caucus members sponsored the “Challenges and Prizes for Climate Act of 2018” to spur innovation in areas needed to combat climate change. More details here.
  • February 7, 2018 – The caucus reached 70 members. Among the 35 Republicans is former Energy and Commerce Committee chairman Rep. Fred Upton.
  • January 30, 2018 – Caucus Democrat Rep. Don Beyer introduced a carbon cap and dividend bill into the House, called the “Healthy Climate and Family Security Act of 2018.” Details here.
  • January 7, 2018 – Many caucus members speak out on offshore drilling. Here’s a roundup of statements (even more may have come out after this piece was published).
  • November 30, 2017 – 12 House Republicans, eight of whom were caucus members, signed a letter to congressional leadership opposing drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.
  • November 1, 2017 – 10 caucus members spoke on the House floor about climate change and the need for bipartisan action. Watch all their speeches here.
  • November 1, 2017 – Three Democratic caucus members and 14 other Democrats introduced the America Wins Act, a carbon pricing bill.
  • September 13, 2017 – The caucus held a meeting discussing the economic impacts of climate change on the outdoor and tourism industries.
  • July 13, 2017 – The caucus voted as a bloc to defeat an anti-climate amendment in the National Defense Authorization Act.
  • May 4, 2017 – Caucus members John Delaney (D-MD) and John Faso (R-NY) introduced the Climate Solutions Commission Act, H.R. 2326  (2017), along with 10 other caucus members. The legislation would establish a bipartisan panel to review “economically viable actions or policies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions” and make recommendations to the president, Congress and states.
  • January 3, 2017 – The caucus was re-established for the 115th Congress, with only six Republicans and nine Democrats after the November 2016 election.
Length
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Intro & Agenda
(from beginning)

History & Timeline
(2:14)

Support Resources
(10:15)

Accomplishments Hand-out
(15:35)

Responding to Criticism
(22:20)

Q&A
(28:27)

Final Thoughts
(49:36)

Instructor(s)

Dr. Danny Richter

Jay Butera

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Audio length
Press play to start the audio (55m 28s)
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Audio Outline
To skip ahead to a specific section go to the time indicated in parenthesis.

Intro & Agenda
(from beginning)

History & Timeline
(2:14)

Support Resources
(10:15)

Accomplishments Hand-out
(15:35)

Responding to Criticism
(22:20)

Q&A
(28:27)

Final Thoughts
(49:36)
 

Instructor(s)

Dr. Danny Richter

Jay Butera

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Category
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Topics
Lobbying Congress
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