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Select Committee on Climate Crisis to Return in 117th Congress

December 15, 2020 by Dan McCue

WASHINGTON – House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced Monday evening that the Select Committee on the Climate will return to work in the 117th Congress.

Formed at the start of the outgoing 116th Congress, the committee effectively met its original charge this past summer, when it published a sweeping 547-page report laying out its recommendations.

On Monday, Pelosi not only extended the panel’s mission, but also announced that it will continue to be chaired by Rep. Kathy Castor, of Florida.

“The climate crisis is the existential threat of our time, jeopardizing our public health, our economy, our national security and the whole of God’s creation,” the speaker said.“Recognizing the urgency of this crisis and its priority for House Democrats, it is a privilege to once again name Congresswoman Kathy Castor as Chair of the Select Committee on the Climate Crisis for the 117th Congress. 

“Under her tireless, experienced leadership, the Select Committee has proven to be an essential force in our work to combat the climate crisis with the bold, innovative thinking that the American people demand.,” Pelosi said.

“As we look toward the future, this Select Committee will continue to champion ambitious progress to protect our communities, promote justice, create good-paying jobs and safeguard our planet for generations to come,” she said.

The Select Committee is actually the second House panel to be dedicated to climate change and associated issues such as renewable energy and energy efficiency.

Its predecessor was the House Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming, which existed from 2007 to 2011, and was not renewed when the Republicans gained control of the House for the 112th Congress.

Pelosi called for reestablishing the Select Committee just prior to 2018 midterms. In an interview with The New York Times she said she wanted the panel to prepare the way “with evidence” for energy conservation and other climate change mitigation legislation.”

The body was ultimately given no legislative or subpoena power. Its mandate was simply to study climate policy and deliver reports to the House by the end of 2020.

The report lays out a framework for future congressional actions, organized into several pillars.

These include, but are not limited to:

  •  Investing in Infrastructure to build a just, equitable, and resilient clean energy economy;
  • Transforming U.S. industry and expanding domestic manufacturing of clean energy and zero-emission technologies;
  • Breaking down barriers for clean energy technologies;
  • Investing in America’s workers and building a fairer economy; 
  • Investing in American agriculture for climate solutions;
  • Making U.S. communities more resilient to impacts of climate change.

“Over the past two years, our Select Committee on the Climate Crisis brought together a historic coalition of scientists, union leaders, faith advocates, farmers, tribal leaders, business leaders and environmental justice champions to deliver a comprehensive, just and actionable plan for Congress to act on climate,” Rep. Castor said. 

“The Select Committee’s ‘Solving the Climate Crisis’ report is the most detailed, sweeping climate plan in American history, laying a science-based foundation that rebuilds our economy through clean energy jobs, ensures clean air and keeps America competitive in the 21st century,” she continued. “In the 117th Congress, the outstanding members of the Committee will proudly work with Speaker Pelosi and the Biden-Harris Administration to turn these climate solutions and clean energy investments into a reality.” 

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