Support The Climate Solutions Caucus

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The formation of the bipartisan Climate Solutions Caucus in the U.S. House of Representatives has been a historic step forward in efforts to enact efficient and effective legislation that addresses 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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Climate Solutions Caucus Q&A is part of the Legislative Strategy series.
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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. As these legislators work together and welcome more members of Congress into the caucus, we’re confident they will identify and pass strong bipartisan climate legislation.

Has the Climate Solutions Caucus endorsed the Energy Innovation Act?

CCL’s laser talk on the Climate Solutions Caucus emphasizes that while members “were not required to support a carbon fee and dividend plan, we were 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 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 are not a constituent, you can thank them through traditional and 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. 

By depoliticizing the challenges we face with 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 them 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 ongoing growth with the CSC, read CCL’s blog on the Jay Butera story. Jay Butera is now on CCL’s Board of Directors 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. Carlos Curbelo and Democratic Rep. Ted Deutch, set agendas for quarterly 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 Congressman Ted Deutch's office.
  • If a Democrat is interested in joining the Climate Solutions Caucus, they can reach out to Congressman Ted Deutch's office. Let them know there is a “waiting list” for Democrats as the limiting factor is Republicans 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 us 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. The caucus is evenly bipartisan, with equal numbers of Republicans and Democrats on board. As these legislators work together, and welcome more members of Congress onto the caucus, we’re confident they 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?

The Climate Solutions Caucus is already having an impact. It’s a process, and we see that process ramping up.  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 it’s 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 achieving a membership of 90 members in the 115th Congress it’s clear they’ve succeeded at making climate change a safe, smart topic for legislators to discuss. For a sample of their activities and timeline, please use CCL’s one-page flyer.

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 are proof that climate change shouldn’t be a partisan issue. Climate change needs lasting legislative action and research demonstrates when you look at what caused the public to change their opinions 2002-2010, the most important factor was elected officials’ stance 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. The caucus will continue to add members from the party that is at a deficit until equal numbers are established again. New members after that will once more join in bipartisan pairs.

What is the history of the caucus's activity?

In February of 2016, two Florida Congressmen formed the Climate Solutions Caucus, a bipartisan working group in the House of Representatives. It is comprised of an equal number of Democrats and Republicans working together to study, develop, and introduce legislative solutions to the challenges we face as a result of climate change.

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 quickly recovered and continued to grow.

By November of 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 founders intend to rebuild the membership as well as the party equity.

Summarized Timeline Of The Caucus Activity:

  • 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 American 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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https://vimeo.com/album/5402747
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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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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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