Today, the first bipartisan U.S. climate legislation in a decade was introduced by Representatives Ted Deutch (D-FL), Francis Rooney (R-FL), John Delaney (D-MD), Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA) and Charlie Crist (D-FL). The introduction of The Energy Innovation and Carbon Dividend Act comes just four days after a U.S. government report – the congressionally mandated National Climate Assessment – warned that without urgent climate action, Americans’ health and prosperity will be increasingly at risk.
Local leaders recognize that the need for climate action is not a partisan issue. The introduction of a serious bipartisan climate bill in the House of Representatives offers hope that pragmatic legislators will see that the effects of climate change do not discriminate based on political party. This bill’s sponsors recognize that action is needed to protect and represent their constituents, and they have responded with a proposal to reduce carbon pollution by 90 percent through a carbon fee and dividend program. Pricing carbon can help spur efficiency and innovation -- key components to solving the climate problem -- and this legislation would return the revenue raised to households, ensuring that all Americans can benefit from the transition to a lower carbon economy.
The co-sponsors of this bill are all members of the Climate Solutions Caucus, the only bipartisan group in Congress seeking solutions to climate change. This is not the first bill to be sponsored by Republican members of the caucus. In July, the first Republican bill on climate change in a decade was introduced by caucus co-chair Carlos Curbelo (R-FL). While many caucus members retired or failed to win re-election, including Curbelo, it is encouraging to see that after the mid-term election, caucus members of both parties are still looking to lead on bipartisan solutions to the climate challenge.
We must be realistic: there's little chance this specific bill could become law. However, it is an important signal that there are thoughtful members of Congress of both parties that understand the urgency of addressing climate change and are not content sitting on the sidelines. With the introduction of this bill, the cosponsors hope to spur a serious discussion in 2019 to galvanize future congressional action. We cannot wait to act on climate change and should work in a bipartisan manner to address a problem that affects our future.