New Democrat Coalition Releases Priorities for U.S. Climate Policy

September 19, 2019 by TWN Staff
A forest scene in Huntley Meadows Park, Alexandria, Virginia. (Photo by Dan McCue)

WASHINGTON –  The New Democrat Coalition released policy principles and endorsed legislation to combat climate change Wednesday, seeking to “address the climate challenge with the urgency the crisis demands” and further their belief the U.S. is best positioned to be the global leader in the effort.

The principles and endorsements were put forward by coalition chair Rep. Derek Kilmer, D-Wash.; vice chair Rep. Scott Peters, D-Calif.; and its Climate Change Task Force co-chairs Reps. Don Beyer, D-Va.; Sean Casten, D-Ill.; Elaine Luria, D-Va.; and Susan Wild, D-Pa.

Central to their thinking is a shared conviction that with its powerful economy and culture of innovation, the U.S. is better positioned than anyone else to develop and produce the next generation technologies that will help the international community combat climate change. 

The coalition supports an ambitious agenda that leverages every decarbonization solution available to advance a swift and just transition to a more sustainable planet and economy.

It intends to promote U.S. policies that are politically durable and long lasting and that build bipartisan consensus where possible, and has vowed to work to advance climate policies that address the following principles and corresponding bills:

Combating climate change requires American leadership.

· H.R. 9 – Climate Action Now Act (Rep. Kathy Castor)

·   H.R. 3110 – Climate Security Intelligence Act (Rep. Denny Heck)

Transitioning to a climate-forward economy an opportunity to create high quality jobs.

·   H.R. 1166 – USE IT Act (Rep. Scott Peters)

·   H.R. 3306 – Nuclear Energy Leadership Act (Rep. Elaine Luria)

·   H.R.4230 – Clean Industrial Technology Act (Rep. Sean Casten)

·   H.R.3423 – National Green Bank Act (Rep. Jim Himes)

·   H.R.4091 – Advanced Research Projects Agency – Energy (ARPA-E) Reauthorization Act (Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson)

·   H.R. 2597 – Clean Energy Standard Act (Rep. Ben Ray Luján)

·   H.R. 2711 – Methane Waste Prevention Act (Rep. Diana DeGette)

·   H.R. 4143 – Super Pollutants Act (Rep. Scott Peters)

Enacting a climate-forward agenda requires investing in communities, resilience and relief.

·   H.R. 4093 – National Ocean and Coastal Security Improvements Act (Rep. Don Beyer)

·   H.R.2156 – RECLAIM Act of 2019 (Rep. Matt Cartwright)

“There’s no denying it: climate change is real and it requires bold action,” Rep. Kilmer said. “In my neck of the woods, we are seeing tribal communities facing the prospect of having to move to higher ground. 

“Those who work in our fisheries and shellfish growers are seeing changing ocean chemistries threaten their livelihoods,” he continued. “And we have seen a growing threat of forest fires in my district, tribal communities, our nation, and our world. The American people are not just demanding action – but also leadership – to counter the threat of climate change. We know that, if we do this right, we can not only help our planet — we can create quality jobs and sustainable economic growth.”

“The climate crisis is the existential and moral issue of our time. It is a major threat to our health, economic prosperity, national security and to all future generations,” said Rep. Beyer. “We are experiencing its effects every day across the country. It is more important now than ever, to engage both the public and private sectors so we can do everything we can to reduce our carbon footprint.” 

Rep. Casten agreed, calling climate change “a challenge to us all.”

But at the same time, Casten continued, “it is also perhaps the greatest economic opportunity of the last century.”

“Seizing this moment, embracing the clean energy economy, and addressing the crisis will require bold action and comprehensive solutions,” he said. “I am proud to be a co-chair of the New Democrat Coalition Climate Change Task Force which helped develop a pragmatic, forward-leaning vision for climate action that will help guide us as we develop and rollout policies to address the climate crisis. These principles not only underscore the urgency of this crisis, but also the complexity of the problem we must confront. Not all the solutions suggested here are flashy, but they are serious, market-driven, and address the problem head on.”

Rep. Luria said that for many of her constituents, coastal Virginians, “sea level rise, recurrent flooding, and extreme weather aren’t concerns for the future; they are problems we deal with every day. These Principles lay out a bold agenda that will cut pollution, protect military assets and coastal communities, and spur innovation and growth.”

“Climate change is an existential crisis that affects every aspect of our societies. The only way to solve a problem this big is to come together and seek perspectives from people and communities of different backgrounds, regions, and political parties,” said Rep. Wild. “I am excited by this coalition’s commitment to listening to communities to help develop policy initiatives that will move us toward a green economy, and move our planet toward a sustainable future that provides good-paying jobs to working and middle-class Americans.”

“Scientists say we have limited time to avoid the worst effects of climate change. These principles will guide our efforts as we work to meet the goals recommended by the international scientific community. This is another commitment to confront the climate crisis through achievable policies that will protect our planet, health, and communities for future generations,” Rep. Peters said.

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