Bipartisan approach on climate change picks up steam as four members join caucus


sanford climate solutions caucus

(L-R) Rep. Mark Sanford, Rep. David Cicilline, Rep. Dan Donovan and Rep. Elizabeth Esty have joined the House Climate Solutions Caucus.

WASHINGTON, D.C., JAN. 9, 2018 – The addition of four members to the House Climate Solutions Caucus is an indication that momentum is gathering in Congress for a bipartisan approach to address climate change, Citizens’ Climate Lobby (CCL) said Tuesday.

Maintaining the caucus protocol of party balance, two Republicans joined with two Democrats this week. The new members are Rep. Mark Sanford (R-SC), Rep. David Cicilline (D-RI), Rep. Dan Donovan (R-NY) and Rep. Elizabeth Esty (D-CT).

“We’re approaching the critical mass needed to introduce meaningful, bipartisan legislation to bring down greenhouse gas emissions,” said CCL Executive Director Mark Reynolds. “We’re particularly excited about the addition of Mark Sanford, the first Republican on the caucus from the Deep South.”

The new members bring the total in the caucus to 66, more than quadruple the number at the start of the 115th Congress.

In a press release Tuesday, caucus co-chair Rep. Ted Deutch (D-FL), said, “I’m pleased to kick off the new year with four new members of the Caucus,” said Rep. Deutch. “As Washington begins to discuss a major infrastructure investment plan, climate change must be part of the conversation. You can’t talk about improvements to coastal highways, ports, and tunnels without talking about rising sea levels. Any infrastructure plan must include resiliency strategies to prepare communities across the country for the worsening impacts of climate change. I look forward to working with my Caucus colleagues to ensure that climate change is part of the conversation in the upcoming House session.”

In the same press release, Republican co-chair Carlos Curbelo said, “The real-world implications of sea level rise were on display for all to see in Texas, Florida and the Caribbean following Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria last year. Since then, even more Members of Congress have turned their concern into action by joining the Climate Solutions Caucus. This growing coalition of members from both parties and communities from across the country is essential to de-polarizing climate issues and opening the door to ensure meaningful, bipartisan Congressional action is possible.”

The growth of the caucus is an indication of the strong desire among members of the House on both sides of the aisle to move beyond partisan politics, not just on climate change, but in other areas as well.

“At a time when deep political divisions have led to an impasse on so many important issues, it’s encouraging to see the emergence of a bipartisan approach to solving climate change,” said Reynolds. “As the Climate Solutions Caucus moves forward with consensus-building legislation, perhaps Congress will be inspired to take a similar approach on other intractable problems.”

Statements from new members:

Rep. Sanford:

“For over 30 years, I have seen the ever-so-gradual effects of rising sea levels at our farm on the South Carolina coast. I’ve watched once-thriving pine trees die in that fragile zone between uplands and salt marshes. To me, the idea that we should be good stewards of what we’ve been given simply makes sense, and I look forward to working with the Caucus toward economically-viable options to conserve our natural resources.”

Rep. Cicilline:

“Climate change is one of the great challenges of our time. If left unaddressed, it will have a devastating impact on people in my home state of Rhode Island and across our entire country. It’s critical that all of us do more at every level of government to confront this threat and build a sustainable future for the next generation.”

Rep. Donovan:

“Five years ago, Superstorm Sandy devastated Staten Island and other parts of New York City – and just this year we saw hurricanes and wildfires ravage our nation. Extreme weather events pose a significant risk to the safety of millions of Americans, businesses and properties, and we must act now to confront these challenges. I look forward to working with the bipartisan Climate Solutions Caucus to put forth innovative solutions that safeguard our environment and make communities across the country more resilient. As chairman of the subcommittee that has jurisdiction over anti-terror and natural disaster preparedness policies, I understand that the work of the Caucus is increasingly important to protecting our citizens.”

Rep. Esty:

“Now that we’ve learned that weather disasters cost our country a record-shattering $306 billion in the last year alone, it’s become clearer than ever that we need to act to protect our climate for the health of our economy, our families, and our future. Working together not as Democrats or Republicans, but as Americans who understand our obligation to future generations to preserve the Earth’s air, land, and water, we can find solutions that create new American green jobs, help businesses and families save money, and reduce pollution today and set the table for generations of American success. I’m excited to join my colleagues as a member of the Climate Solutions Caucus to work toward a cleaner, brighter future.”

CONTACT: Steve Valk, , 404-769-7461

Steve Valk is Communications Coordinator for Citizens' Climate Lobby. Steve joined the CCL staff in 2009 after a 30-year career with the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Follow him on Twitter at @valklimate.