Skip to content

Climate Caucus introduces bill to encourage innovation on climate solutions

Rep. Dan Lipinski (D-IL) and Rep. John Faso (R-NY) climate solutions

Rep. Dan Lipinski (D-IL) and Rep. John Faso (R-NY)

By Steve Valk

Rep. Dan Lipinski (D-IL) and Rep. John Faso (R-NY), both members of the bipartisan House Climate Solutions Caucus, have introduced legislation to spur innovation in areas needed to combat climate change.

According to a press release from both their offices, the bill, the Challenges and Prizes for Climate Act of 2018, would direct the Secretary of Energy to establish a program called ‘Climate Solutions Challenges,’ which will organize prize competitions on five topics, including carbon capture, energy efficiency, energy storage, climate resiliency, and data analytics to better understand climate or weather, or to better inform the public about those topics.

“Increased efficiency and continued technological innovation in clean energy will help the U.S. economy grow in the coming decades,” said Rep. Faso. “We should do all we can to incentivize progress and assist the private sector economy in innovating and inspiring technological changes which will reduce the impact of climate change. This legislation is a step in the right direction in terms of incentivizing real progress through public-private partnerships. I am happy to join Rep. Lipinski in introducing this bill.”

In keeping with the bipartisan spirit of the caucus, the bill has equal numbers of Democrats and Republicans cosponsoring. Joining Lipinski and Faso on the bill are caucus members Reps. Charlie Crist (D-FL), Carlos Curbelo (R-FL), Stephanie Murphy (D-FL), and Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL).

“Clean energy prize competitions have the potential to yield major technological advances and transform industries and markets,” said Rep. Lipinski. “A prize that I championed a few years ago has led to a quantum leap in hydrogen fuel cell car refueling technology, and there’s another competition that’s currently in progress that has already identified 23 technologies that can convert carbon dioxide emissions from power plants and industrial facilities into useful products.”

CCL Senior Congressional Liaison Jay Butera said, “I’m really excited about this bill. I’m a big believer in the power of tech challenges. They have a long history of focusing research, driving innovation, and creating breakthrough moments—just what we need right now! Also, I’m happy to see the bill’s bipartisan support with all original cosponsors hailing from the Climate Solutions Caucus.”

The bill was endorsed by the Friends Committee on National Legislation, the Alliance to Save Energy and the National Audubon Society.

“America needs bipartisan approaches to climate change like investing in clean energy technology,” said David Yarnold, President and CEO of the National Audubon Society.  “Our changing climate is the biggest threat facing America’s people and birds.  We don’t have time to waste, and we can’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good.  It’s time to start with meaningful solutions like this legislation.”

Since joining the Climate Solutions Caucus last March, Faso has been one of the more active Republicans on the caucus. He was the lead Republican sponsor for the Climate Solutions Commission Act introduced last May. Last October, he visited a farm in his district to learn about carbon farming. In November, he joined with caucus colleagues who delivered speeches on the floor of the House about the need for action on climate change. Faso was also among a dozen Republicans who sent a letter urging the president to protect the Arctic National Wildlife Reserve from oil and gas drilling.

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.