New bipartisan Senate climate caucus aims to take 'politics' out of the topic

New bipartisan Senate climate caucus aims to take 'politics' out of the topic
© Greg Nash

Democratic Sen. Christopher CoonsChristopher (Chris) Andrew CoonsCentrist Democrats seize on state election wins to rail against Warren's agenda Bill Gates visits Capitol to discuss climate change with new Senate caucus The Memo: ISIS leader's death is no game-changer for Trump MORE (Del.) and Republican Sen. Mike BraunMichael BraunBipartisan leadership will reduce emissions more quickly than Paris accord Overnight Energy: EPA watchdog slams agency chief after deputy fails to cooperate in probe | Justices wrestle with reach of Clean Water Act | Bipartisan Senate climate caucus grows Bipartisan Senate climate caucus grows by six members MORE (Ind.) are rolling out a bipartisan caucus focused on bringing passable climate legislation to the upper chamber.

The Senate Climate Solutions Caucus, launched Wednesday, is largely aimed as a way to let Republican lawmakers become a part of the climate conversation by removing the “politics” of the issue. 

“In its current state, our national conversation on this issue is too polarized, toxic, and unproductive. In this environment, American leadership is sidelined, instead replaced by partisan bickering. To us, this is unacceptable,” the lawmakers wrote in an op-ed for The Hill on Wednesday.

“Our caucus seeks to take the politics out of this important issue. Instead, members will commit to an honest dialogue, through which we can develop solutions that solidify American environmental leadership, promote American workers, and make meaningful progress on protecting our environment.”

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The House has a Climate Solutions Caucus that was formed earlier this year by Reps. Ted DeutchTheodore (Ted) Eliot DeutchOvernight Defense: Protests at Trump's NYC Veterans Day speech | House Dems release Pentagon official's deposition transcript | Lawmakers ask Trump to rescind Erdogan invite Bipartisan House members call on Trump to rescind Erdoğan invitation Bipartisan Senate climate caucus grows by six members MORE (D-Fla.) and Rep. Francis RooneyLaurence (Francis) Francis RooneyBipartisan Senate climate caucus grows by six members House Democrat: Taylor's impeachment testimony made 'very clear' there was a quid pro quo New bipartisan Senate climate caucus aims to take 'politics' out of the topic MORE (R-Fla.).

As the issue of climate change has grown in the national dialogue in part due to a series of alarming international scientific reports, Republican rhetoric on the issue has also shifted.

The caucus now will offer members of the GOP along with Senate Democrats a chance to work together to pass legislation to address climate change, the two lawmakers say of the committee.

“We may seem an unlikely pair to team up on this effort. We come from different political parties and represent different parts of the country, but we both recognize the importance of American leadership in addressing our changing climate,” the two write.

According to the op-ed, the lawmakers will largely look to technological developments and business for answers, pointing to innovations in energy efficiency at manufacturers and in the agricultural sector as well as carbon neutral pledges already being adopted individually across a number of industries.

“Congress can build on these efforts, giving American businesses the tools they need to get there,” the lawmakers wrote.

Senate Energy and Natural Resources Chair Lisa MurkowskiLisa Ann MurkowskiGoogle sparks new privacy fears over health care data This week: House kicks off public phase of impeachment inquiry GOP senators plan to tune out impeachment week MORE (R-Ala.) has said she intends to join the caucus. Utah Sen. Mitt RomneyWillard (Mitt) Mitt RomneyClub for Growth extends advertising against House Dems over impeachment Pennsylvania's other election-night story This week: House kicks off public phase of impeachment inquiry MORE (R) has also indicated he plans to join the caucus, according to three sources with knowledge. 

The caucus sponsors say the groups will be made of an equal number of members on both side of the aisle and will only introduce legislation agreed to unanimously. The caucus also plans to hold hearings with experts.

“We will meet regularly and convene experts from across the political spectrum to discuss ideas such as developing economic incentives to reduce emissions, promoting the role of agriculture as a climate solution, and ensuring that any energy transition protects American energy consumers while supporting energy security and workforce development,” the op-ed reads.

Both Coons’s and Braun’s states rely heavily on the agriculture industry.

This story was updated at 3:00 p.m.