For years we have heard from the left that we have 12 years left to save the planet. Given this urgency, one could assume that Democrats are willing to explore bipartisan solutions to climate change. After all, for enduring, serious policy, a bipartisan consensus is required to avoid sweeping changes each time congressional majorities or presidential administrations flip.
However, some Democrats have proven they are willing to do everything possible to help the environment in rhetoric alone, but never in actions. This week, congressional Republicans led by House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthyKevin McCarthyOvernight Hillicon Valley — Scrutiny over Instagram's impact on teens Top Democrats tout California recall with an eye toward 2022 Former national security officials warn antitrust bills could help China in tech race MORE (R-Calif.) and Rep. Garret GravesGarret Neal GravesLawmakers lay out arguments for boosting clean energy through infrastructure GOP seeks to keep spotlight on Afghanistan as Dems advance Biden's .5T spending plan Biden to travel to New Jersey and New York, survey Ida damage MORE (R-La.) announced a new climate task force to address the environmental challenges we face. The announcement comes on the heels of the new Conservative Climate Caucus, boasting nearly 60 members and championed by Rep. John Curtis (R-Utah).
As Republicans continue to build their presence in the environmental movement, Democrats with truly climate-focused interests should encourage the progress their political counterparts have achieved. Instead, they have continued to politicize the issue and have shown they have no genuine desire for their monopoly on climate change to end, even at the cost of real climate action. If the situation is as dire as Democrats make it out to be, they cannot afford to delay action for political wins. Yet, when given the opportunity for real environmental action, progressives make their version of perfect the enemy of good policy. It is what we have seen time and time again.
Just last week, the Growing Climate Solutions Act passed the Senate. The bill is a bipartisan solution that will allow American farmers and foresters to fight climate change by naturally sequestering emissions. By engaging the agricultural and forestry sectors in the fight against climate change, we can pursue natural solutions, including sustainable farming and forestry practices such as cover crops or reforestation. Scientists estimate this would deliver nearly 30 percent of the carbon reductions needed by 2030 to meet our climate goals.
This bipartisan and private sector-supported bill passed the Senate with flying colors at 92-8. Notably absent from the yes column, however, were Sens. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth WarrenFederal Reserve officials' stock trading sparks ethics review Manchin keeps Washington guessing on what he wants Warren, Daines introduce bill honoring 13 killed in Kabul attack MORE (D-Mass.), Bernie SandersBernie SandersBriahna Joy Gray: Push toward major social spending amid pandemic was 'short-lived' Sanders 'disappointed' in House panel's vote on drug prices Manchin keeps Washington guessing on what he wants MORE (I-Vt.), Cory BookerCory BookerDOJ announces agencywide limits on chokeholds and no-knock entries Fighting poverty, the Biden way Top Senate Democrats urge Biden to take immediate action on home confinement program MORE (D- N.J.), and Ed MarkeyEd MarkeyOvernight Energy & Environment — Presented by Climate Power — Senate Democrats ding Biden energy proposal Six Democrats blast Energy Department's uranium reserve pitch Facebook draws lawmaker scrutiny over Instagram's impact on teens MORE (D-Mass.), all self-proclaimed climate justice warriors. To be clear, they voted the same way as climate skeptic Sens. Josh HawleyJoshua (Josh) David HawleyOvernight Defense & National Security — Milley becomes lightning rod Joint Chiefs Chairman Milley becomes lightning rod on right Hawley pledges to slow walk Biden's Pentagon, State picks over messy Afghanistan exit MORE (R-Mo.) and Jim InhofeJames (Jim) Mountain InhofeTop Republican: General told senators he opposed Afghanistan withdrawal Austin, Milley to testify on Afghanistan withdrawal The Pentagon budget is already out of control: Some in Congress want to make it worse MORE (R-Okla.).
The fact that a handful of Democratic senators who have made climate change one of their highest priorities in office voted “no” on a highly bipartisan climate bill — practically a legislative unicorn in our age of divisiveness — should not only disappoint voters but make them wonder if these Democrats genuinely care about climate solutions. Voters should consider that such Democrats might be using the climate issue as political football to score points against their opponents.
Climate action should be a priority for all Americans. That is why the left’s stubbornness and resistance to bipartisan legislation are both frustrating and telling, as it reveals that much of their activism is in name only. Suppose we continue to tolerate “climate-minded” Democratic legislators putting activism over action when it comes to our planet. In that case, we will be hard-pressed to solve the environmental challenges we face.
Danielle Butcher is the executive vice president at the American Conservation Coalition (ACC) and a visiting fellow at the Independent Women’s Forum (IWF).