Quantcast
Politics
CEO of Masdar Initiative Sultan Al Jabe testifies before the former House climate change committee in 2008 before Republicans dissolved it in 2011. KAREN BLEIER / AFP / Getty Images

Climate Change Committee Likely to Be Revived by Democratic House

Back in 2010, jeggings were the hot new fashion trend, the world learned to loathe vuvuzelas and the U.S. House of Representatives had a climate change committee.

Now that the Democrats have retaken the House, one of those things is coming back. In an interview with The New York Times Wednesday, House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi laid out the party's plans for the next two years, including resurrecting the committee:


Ms. Pelosi said that she would urge her caucus to revive a select committee focused on climate change, similar to the one that Democrats financed from 2007 to early 2011, to "prepare the way with evidence" for energy conservation and other climate change mitigation legislation. Republicans defunded the panel when they took the majority, but Ms. Pelosi said it was clearly still needed to educate the public about the impact of more frequent extreme weather events.

Senior Democratic aides confirmed the plan to Bloomberg News Thursday, but asked not to be named before an official announcement is made.

The former Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming could not propose legislation, but it could call hearings to raise awareness about the impacts of climate change and the development of renewable energy. That information helped the House develop a cap-and-trade bill that it passed in 2009, though the bill ultimately failed in the Senate.

A resurrected climate change committee could focus attention on the results of the most recent Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report warning policy makers that they have 12 years to rapidly reduce greenhouse gas emissions in order to halt warming at 1.5 degrees Celsius above industrial levels.

It would also be a way for Democrats to highlight President Donald Trump's refusal to seriously address climate change as they prepare for the 2020 elections. As Quartz explained, climate change is a growing priority for voters:

Not only are more Americans worried about climate change than ever before, for the first time, a significant portion of the electorate rates climate change as a top issue. In 2016, climate change was the sixth most important issue for liberal Democrats, according to Yale and George Mason University, while today it's their fourth most important issue. It may be higher still. A recent Marist poll found that, among all Democrats, climate change is the second most important issue, trailing only health care. And it's not just Democrats. In particularly vulnerable parts of the country, like Florida, Republicans are worried too.

But Trump has not acted like the issue matters, promising to withdraw from the Paris agreement, rolling back Obama-era regulations of greenhouse gas emissions and dismissing the most recent IPCC report by asking, "Who drew it?"

With Florida, a key swing state, beset by both nuisance flooding and increasingly intense hurricanes, this attitude may come back to bite him in two years if Democrats keep bringing it up.

"[T]he select committee can have as many messaging hearings as their little hearts desire," to "address wildfires, hurricanes and sea level rise," Anna Burhop, an environmental policy expert with Bracewell LLP, told Bloomberg News.

Show Comments ()

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

Sponsored
Insights/Opinion
Colorful, fresh organic vegetables. fcafotodigital / Getty Images

A New Diet for the Planet

By Tim Radford

An international panel of health scientists and climate researchers has prescribed a new diet for the planet: more vegetables, less meat, fresh fruit, whole grains and pulses, give up sugar, waste less and keep counting the calories.

And if 200 nations accept the diagnosis and follow doctor's orders, tomorrow's farmers may be able to feed 10 billion people comfortably by 2050, help contain climate change, and prevent 11 million premature deaths per year.

Keep reading... Show less
Politics
Children's books about the environment. U.S. Air Force photo / Karen Abeyasekere

This State Might Require Public Schools to Teach Climate Change

Reading, writing, arithmetic ... and climate science. That doesn't have the same ring as the "three Rs" of education, but Connecticut could one day require the subject to be on the curriculum, The Associated Press reported.

A Connecticut state lawmaker is pushing a bill to mandate the teaching of climate change in public schools throughout the state, starting in elementary school.

Keep reading... Show less
Climate
NASA's ICESCAPE mission investigates the changing conditions in the Arctic. NASA / Kathryn Hansen

These Eye-Opening Memes Show the Real 10-Year Challenge

Before-and-after photos of your friends have probably taken over your Facebook and Instagram feeds, but environmentalists are using the #10YearChallenge to insert a dose of truth.

Memes of shrinking glaciers, emaciated polar bears and coral bleaching certainly subvert the feel-good viral sensation, but these jarring images really show our planet in a worrying state of flux.

Keep reading... Show less
Popular
Vial containing swab from a deceased duck, collected for testing during the 2014-2015 avian influenza outbreak. © 2015 Erica Cirino, used with permission.

Could Trump’s Government Shutdown Cause Outbreaks of Wildlife Disease?

By Erica Cirino

The current U.S. government shutdown could worsen ongoing wildlife disease outbreaks or even delay responses to new epidemics, according to federal insiders and outside experts who work with federal wildlife employees.

Keep reading... Show less
Sponsored
Health
Vegan raw cheese from cashew nuts. byheaven/ iStock / Getty Images

Vegan Cheese: What’s the Best Dairy-Free Option?

By Ansley Hill, RD, LD

Cheese is one of the most beloved dairy products across the globe. In the U.S. alone, each person consumes more than 38 pounds (17 kg) of cheese per year, on average (1).

Keep reading... Show less
Insights/Opinion
Sun setting behind the Fawley Oil Refinery in Fawley, England. Clive G' / CC BY-ND 2.0

Even Davos Elite Warns Humanity Is 'Sleepwalking Into Catastrophe'

By Jessica Corbett

Ahead of the World Economic Forum's (WEF) annual meeting in Davos, Switzerland next week—which convenes the world's wealthiest and most powerful for a summit that's been called both the "money Oscars" and a "threat to democracy"—the group published a report declaring, "Of all risks, it is in relation to the environment that the world is most clearly sleepwalking into catastrophe."

Keep reading... Show less
Sponsored
Energy
Robusta coffee beans growing on a tree. Dag Sundberg / Getty Images

60% of Wild Coffee Species at Risk for Extinction

If humans don't wake up now to the threats posed by climate change and habitat loss, we may be in for a permanently sleepy future. A study led by scientists from the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew found that 60 percent of wild coffee species are at risk for extinction.

Keep reading... Show less
Politics
Andrew Wheeler testifies Wednesday at a Senate confirmation hearing on his nomination to officially head the EPA. Chip Somodevilla / Getty Images

Acting EPA Head Wheeler Downplays Climate Crisis at Confirmation Hearing

Acting U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator and former coal lobbyist Andrew Wheeler downplayed the threat of climate change and defended his deregulatory record at the first Senate confirmation hearing on his nomination to officially run the agency Wednesday. It was a hearing that some activists and Democrats did not even think should take place, given that business as usual at the EPA has been hampered by the ongoing government shutdown.

Keep reading... Show less
Sponsored

mail-copy

The best of EcoWatch, right in your inbox. Sign up for our email newsletter!