Sens. Braun & Coons Form Bipartisan Climate Solutions Caucus

by Josh Colletta

Indiana’s Republican junior senator has reached across the aisle with his Democratic counterpart from Delaware to form a Senate caucus specifically to address how the government should face the effects of climate change.

Sen. Mike Braun (R – Indiana) and Sen. Chris Coons (D – Delaware) officially announced the creation of the Senate Climate Solutions Caucus yesterday in a joint op-ed written for The Hill.

The duo said that they hope to take the politics out of the issue, and instead focus on real-world solutions and the economics of facing the world’s changing climate.

The say they envision the caucus, consisting of equal members of each party, as a “group of senators who, like the Americans we serve, believe Congress should play a central role in guiding America’s 21st century energy economy and addressing the challenge of a changing climate.” They continue, “members will commit to an honest dialogue, through which we can develop solutions that solidify American environmental leadership, promote American workers, and make meaningful progress on protecting our environment.”

Braun and Latta say American innovation has laid the groundwork for that progress by inventing new technologies and decreasing the environmental impacts of manufacturing, agricultural production, and electricity generation. They believe “Congress can build on these efforts, giving American businesses the tools they need” to achieve carbon neutrality.

They acknowledge that they’re an unlikely pair, but say that they “both recognize the importance of American leadership in addressing our changing climate.”

A companion summery piece in The Hill notes that both Indiana and Delaware rely heavily on the agriculture industry. It also reports that Senators Lisa Murkowski (R – Alabama) and Mitt Romney (R – Utah) have already announced their intent to join the caucus.

A similar group in the lower chamber, the House Climate Solutions Caucus, was formed earlier this year by Representatives Ted Deutch (D – Florida) and Francis Rooney (R – Florida).

According to the Herald Republican, local activists with the Fort Wayne chapter of the Citizens’ Climate Lobby — whose chapters conform to the boundaries of congressional districts — hailed the caucus as “an incubator where productive dialogue can lead to strong bipartisan climate legislation.”

The Angola paper notes that polls show 80% of American voters want bipartisan climate change solutions. 77% of young Republican voters in a recent Ipsos poll called climate change a “serious threat.” 64% of Hoosiers say they know that climate change is happening, and 74% want CO2 to be regulated as a pollutant — those latter figures coming from the Yale Program on Climate Change Communications.