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.