|Chris Gibson (center in the red jumper). Photo credit: New York National Guard via Flickr.
By Nicole Crescimanno
Rep. Chris Gibson, along with ten other Republican congress members, took the bold step of going against party leadership and introduced a House resolution on climate change last month. The resolution acknowledges that climate change “has had noticeable, negative impacts that are expected to worsen in every region of the United States and its territories.” The eleven Republican representatives, including Pennsylvania representatives Ryan Costello, Mike Fitzpatrick, and Patrick Meehan, New York representatives Richard Hanna and Elise Stefanik, Florida representatives Ileana Ros-Lehtinen and Carlos Curbelo, David Reichert from Washington state, Bob Dold from Illinois, and Frank LoBiondo from New Jersey, state that it “is a conservative principle to protect, conserve, and be good stewards of our environment, responsibly plan for all market factors, and base our policy decisions in science and quantifiable facts on the ground.”
Although the resolution is non-binding, congratulations and a big thank you are due to Representative Gibson and the other brave Republicans who signed on, as it will have great significance in opening up the climate change dialogue. Citizens’ Climate Lobby Executive Director Mark Reynolds said, “The resolution creates a stepping stone that allows congressional Republicans to engage in the issue and come to the table with conservative solutions to climate change, such as a revenue-neutral carbon fee.”
A revenue neutral carbon fee and dividend is based on conservative economic principals and is supported by leading economists, including Former U.S. Secretary of State George Shultz. A fee and dividend approach, which places a steadily rising fee on the CO2 content of fossil fuels and then returns 100% of the revenue back to American households, is a great example of the type of economically viable solutions that Gibson calls for in his resolution.
As co-sponsor Rep. Carlos Curbelo of Florida states that “40% of Florida’s population is at risk of rising sea levels, posing a clear and present danger,” it is only a matter of time before more Republicans realize that now is the moment to address climate change. As it is important to the Republican sponsors that “any efforts to mitigate the risks of, prepare for, or otherwise address our changing climate and its effects should not constrain the United States economy, especially in regards to global competitiveness,” it is a great time for Republicans to introduce revenue neutral carbon fee legislation.
Nicole is a passionate climate activist: Co-leader of the NYC Chapter of Citizens’ Climate Lobby, Co-producer of the web-series, Climate Countdown, program coordinator for the Earth Institute’s Program on Climate Science, Awareness and Solutions, and Climate & Society Alum.
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