New Dems Climate Change Task Force Releases Principles for U.S. Climate Policy

August 7, 2019 by Dan McCue

The New Democrat Coalition on Wednesday released a statement of principles aimed at reasserting the United States’ role as a global leader in addressing climate change.

A statement outlining the principles says they are intended to combat climate change “with the seriousness and urgency this crisis demands” while embracing the notion that the U.S., “through its powerful economy and culture of innovation” is best positioned to produce the next generation of technologies needed to aid the global community.

The ambitious agenda laid out by Coalition Chair Derek Kilmer, Vice Chair Scott Peters, and Climate Task Force Co-Chairs Don Beyer, Sean Casten, Elaine Luria, and Susan Wild, leverages every decarbonization solution currently available to advance a swift transition to a more sustainable planet and economy.

Further, in announcing its plan, the task force has said it intends to continue to promote policies that are “politically durable and long lasting,” and to “build bipartisan consensus where possible.”

The principles include acknowledging that combating climate change requires global action and American Leadership; transitioning to a climate-forward economy and embrace it as an opportunity to create high quality jobs; and enacting a climate-forward agenda that includes investing in community resilience and relief when and where necessary.

The New Democrat Coalition Climate Change Task Force looks forward to building on the work of many of our colleagues. We aim to make immediate progress toward our decarbonization goals by building bridges to groups historically resistant to facing the reality and magnitude of this threat, and accomplishing real, tangible, legislative progress that unleashes the economic opportunities of addressing the current and future impacts of climate change,” the principles read.

Representative Derek Kilmer, of Washington State, said Wednesday that there’s no denying climate change is real and requires bold action.”

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. And we have seen a growing threat of forest fires,” Kilmer said.

The American people are not just demanding action – but also leadership – to counter the threat of climate change,” he continued. “We know that, if we do this right, we can not only help our planet — we can create quality jobs and sustainable economic growth. I am proud of the leadership of the New Democrat Coalition Climate Change Task Force that worked diligently to create policy principles to take action.”

Don Beyer, D-Va., co-chair of the New Democrat Coalition Climate Change Task Force, sees climate change as 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,” he said. “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.”

New Democrat Coalition Climate Change Task Force Co-Chair Sean Casten, D-Ill., said: “The climate crisis is … a challenge to us all, but 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.

“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. I want to thank my fellow co-chairs of the Task Force and the leadership of the New Dems for all their hard work on this document.”

Representative Elaine Luria, who represents a district encompassing a portion of coastal Virginia, said that for her constituents, 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,” Luria said.

Representative Susan Wild, D-Penn., agreed.

“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,” she said. “I am excited by this Task Force’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,” said Representative Scott Peters, D-Calif., “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.”

The principles were endorsed by the NDC Climate Change Task Force and will be considered by the full Coalition in the Fall. Read the one-pager and the full principles.

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