Last week Congressman John K. Delaney introduced legislation designed to bring both parties together around a bipartisan solution to the environmental crisis of our time – climate change. Earlier this Congress Delaney also authored legislation to reduce carbon pollution and introduced a resolution backed by over 100 House members to establish a new national clean energy goal of 50% clean energy by 2030.
Just one month after the United States and China, two major greenhouse gas emitters, committed to the Paris climate agreement, the European Union has promised to follow suit and ratify the agreement, which aims to limit global temperature rise to “well below 2°C” and strive for 1.5°C.
Meanwhile, although the United States is notorious for partisanship over climate change, two Congressional representatives — one Republican and one Democrat — have just introduced a bill to create a bipartisan commission for climate solutions.
Led by Representatives John Delaney (D-MD) and Chris Gibson (R-NY), the Delaney-Gibson Climate Solutions Commission Act(H.R. 6240) would bring together the two political parties to create a 10-member commission to find agreement and create action on this historically divisive issue.
“Ultimately, the best path to a solution is to build bipartisan consensus — that process starts today with the introduction of this bill,” Rep. Delaney said in a statement released September 30. “I want to thank my colleagues in both parties for their courage in stepping forward on this issue.”
According to a statement from Rep. Delaney, the commission created by this bill will have three tasks:
- “undertake a comprehensive review of economically viable public and private actions or policies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions
- make recommendations to the President, Congress and the States
- use as its goals for emissions reductions the estimated rates of reduction that reflect the latest scientific findings of what is needed to avoid serious health and environmental consequences.”
With half of its members appointed by each political party, the commission would be composed of scientific, nongovernmental, and private sector experts on climate and energy.
Nongovernmental organizations such as the World Resources Institute have applauded the bill’s origins and its focus on producing concrete solutions.
“I think it’s a very encouraging sign because it’s bipartisan,” said Christina DeConcini, government affairs director with the World Resources Institute. “I don’t think there’s been any bipartisan climate bill since 2009,” referring to the failed Waxman-Markey cap-and-trade bill which passed in the House but never made it out of the Senate.