Quantcast

Climate Change Committee Likely to Be Revived by Democratic House

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

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.

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

An Australian flag flutters in the wind in a dry drought-ridden landscape. Virginia Star / Moment / Getty Images

Australia re-elected its conservative governing Liberal-National coalition Saturday, despite the fact that it has refused to cut down significantly on greenhouse gas emissions or coal during its time in power, The New York Times reported.

Read More Show Less
Tree lined street, UK. Richard Newstead / Moment / Getty Images

The UK government will fund the planting of more than 130,000 trees in English towns and cities in the next two years as part of its efforts to fight climate change, The Guardian reported Sunday.

Read More Show Less
Sponsored
A tropical storm above Bangkok on Aug. 04, 2016. Hristo Rusev/ NurPhoto / Getty Images

By Jeff Turrentine

First off: Bangkok Wakes to Rain, the intricately wrought, elegantly crafted debut novel by the Thai-American author Pitchaya Sudbanthad, isn't really about climate change. This tale set in the sprawling subtropical Thai capital is ultimately a kind of family saga — although its interconnected characters aren't necessarily linked by a bloodline. What binds them is their relationship to a small parcel of urban land on which has variously stood a Christian mission, an upper-class family house, and a towering condominium. All of the characters have either called this place home or had some other significant connection to it.

Read More Show Less
orn_france / iStock / Getty Images

By Susan McCabe, BSc, RD

Dioscorea alata is a species of yam commonly referred to as purple yam, ube, violet yam, or water yam.

Read More Show Less
Left: MirageC / Moment / Getty Images Right: Pongsak Tawansaeng / EyeEm / Getty Images

By Lizzie Streit, MS, RDN, LD

Sole water is water saturated with pink Himalayan salt.

Read More Show Less
Sponsored
People march to TCF Bank Stadium to protest against the mascot for the Washington Redskins before the game against the Minnesota Vikings on Nov. 2, 2014 at TCF Bank Stadium in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Hannah Foslien / Getty Images

Maine Gov. Janet Mills signed a bill into law Thursday banning public schools or universities in the state from using Native American mascots, names or imagery. Mills' action will make Maine the first state in the nation with such a ban once it goes into effect later this year, The Bangor Daily News reported.

Read More Show Less
A man protests against the use of disposable plastics outside the Houses of Parliament on March 28 in London. John Keeble / Getty Images

Plastic pollution across the globe is suffocating our planet and driving Earth toward catastrophic climatic conditions if not curbed significantly and immediately, according to a new report by the Center for International Environmental Law (CEIL).

Read More Show Less
Gov. Jay Inslee (D-WA) testifies during a House Energy and Commerce Environment and Climate Change Subcommittee hearing on Capitol Hill on April 2 in Washington, DC. Zach Gibson / Getty Images

By Julia Conley

A new climate action plan put forth by Democratic presidential candidate Gov. Jay Inslee on Thursday is being praised for highlighting the enormous benefits that would result from a rapid shift in the U.S. to a renewable energy economy that centers on the needs of workers and vulnerable communities.

Read More Show Less