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 CoonsChris Andrew CoonsDemocrats seek answers on impact of Russian cyberattack on Justice Department, Courts Senators introduce bill to award Officer Goodman the Congressional Gold Medal Senate chaos threatens to slow Biden's agenda MORE (Del.) and Republican Sen. Mike BraunMichael BraunBiden signals he's willing to delay Trump trial McConnell proposes postponing impeachment trial until February The Hill's Morning Report - Biden takes office, calls for end to 'uncivil war' 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.”


The House has a Climate Solutions Caucus that was formed earlier this year by Reps. Ted DeutchTheodore (Ted) Eliot DeutchHouse Democrats introduce measures to oppose Trump's bomb sale to Saudis House Judiciary Democrats ask Pence to invoke 25th Amendment to remove Trump This week: Congress poised to buy more time on spending, coronavirus talks MORE (D-Fla.) and Rep. Francis RooneyLaurence (Francis) Francis RooneyGrowing number of House Republicans warm to proxy voting Lawmakers express concern about lack of young people in federal workforce The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Mastercard - Today: Vaccine distribution starts, Electoral College meets. 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 MurkowskiTrump impeachment trial to begin week of Feb. 8 Murkowski didn't vote for Trump, won't join Democrats Trump impeachment article being sent to Senate Monday MORE (R-Ala.) has said she intends to join the caucus. Utah Sen. Mitt RomneyWillard (Mitt) Mitt RomneySunday shows preview: All eyes on Biden administration to tackle coronavirus The Hill's Morning Report - Biden's crisis agenda hits headwinds GOP senators say only a few Republicans will vote to convict Trump 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.