Bi­par­ti­san move­ment

Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette - - VOICES -

Be­lieve it or not, there is a grow­ing bi­par­ti­san move­ment in the House of Rep­re­sen­ta­tives whereby Repub­li­cans and Democrats are talk­ing to each other and work­ing to­gether to en­act cli­mate-change so­lu­tions.

Since the be­gin­ning of the year, the bi­par­ti­san House Cli­mate So­lu­tions Cau­cus has more than tripled its ranks and re­cently achieved the im­pres­sive mile­stone of 50 mem­bers when Cal­i­for­nia Repub­li­can Steve Knight and Ohio Demo­crat Marcy Kap­tur joined.

In Fe­bru­ary 2016, Rep. Car­los Curbelo (R-Fla.) and Rep. Ted Deutch (D-Fla.) formed the cau­cus to de­politi­cize the cli­mate issue by bring­ing in mem­bers from both sides of the aisle to en­gage in con­struc­tive di­a­logue. From the start, they de­signed the cau­cus to be truly bi­par­ti­san, in­sist­ing new mem­bers come aboard two-by-two—one Repub­li­can and one Demo­crat at a time.

The hope is that even­tu­ally the cau­cus will draft and in­tro­duce ma­jor leg­is­la­tion to sig­nif­i­cantly re­duce Amer­ica’s green­house gas emis­sions.

One promis­ing ap­proach that en­joys sup­port in con­ser­va­tive cir­cles is to place a ris­ing fee on car­bon-based fu­els and re­turn the rev­enue from that fee as di­rect pay­ments to all house­holds. The fee cor­rects the mar­ket fail­ure un­der­pin­ning fos­sil fu­els so that we can ac­cel­er­ate the tran­si­tion to clean en­ergy. Giv­ing rev­enue from the fee back to house­holds pre­vents eco­nomic fall­out from ris­ing en­ergy costs. Add a bor­der ad­just­ment tar­iff to im­ports from na­tions that don’t price car­bon in an equiv­a­lent man­ner—thereby pro­tect­ing Amer­i­can busi­nesses—and we have a win-win­win for ev­ery­one.

At a time when the par­ti­san di­vide in Wash­ing­ton seems in­sur­mount­able, the cau­cus pro­vides a model for reach­ing across the aisle to tackle the big prob­lems that bedevil us. We used to say, “If we can put a man on the moon, surely we can do any­thing.” I can hardly wait to find out.



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