Letters to the Editor

Letter: Will time in Climate Solutions Caucus help Roskam, Hultgren?

To the Editor:

America’s image of deeply split tribalism falls when climate change is discussed, as a solid 74 percent believe our governments should be enacting climate policies, according to a poll this week by ABC News and Resources for the Future.

Yet on Thursday, the GOP again tried to blockade key climate policy ideas.

The biennial denialist resolution of Rep. Steve Scalise, R-La., aimed at cutting off debate over taxing (or otherwise pricing) carbon and other greenhouse gas pollution passed the House on Thursday with 229 “yes” votes, 180 “no” votes and two voting “present.” Briefly, the resolution argues that pricing carbon greenhouse gas pollution would stunt the economy, with particular effect on the poor and elderly.

This flies in the face of widespread support from economists over a market-driven pricing on carbon, according to a Stanford University review of 15 peer-reviewed articles on the topic.

A group to which I belong, Citizens Climate Lobby, has undertaken several studies showing that properly implemented pricing will not stunt the economy, and our proposal to use the income as a dividend paid to households belies any ill effect on the poor and elderly.

The alternative to a market solution then would be governmental regulation, and that’s not what conservatives in this climate movement seek.

It is unfortunate that among the “yes” votes were Rep. Peter Roskam, R-District 6, and Rep. Randy Hultgren, R-District 14. As they are recent members of the U.S. House Climate Solutions Caucus, we had hoped for their vote against the resolution. In the past, Scalise has had unanimous GOP support for his hands-over-their-ears bill.

So what does their “yes” votes say about Roskam’s and Hultgren’s commitments to the Climate Solutions Caucus to listen openly to policy solutions? CCL supports the caucus and worries that GOP members voting with Scalise paint the caucus’s bipartisan efforts as little more than greenwashing ahead of November’s election.

Given the slowly declining support – six Republicans voted “no” – this year for Scalise’s bill it’s optimistic, although not in hand, that a bipartisan policy can be forged.

Perhaps time engaged with the caucus will bring Roskam and Hultgren, and other Republicans, into line with their constituents’ thinking. Perhaps November will.

Jack Shipley

Crystal Lake

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