Thank Goodness: New Crop of Congress Members Are Serious About Climate Change

The results of the midterm elections didn’t just switch the House from red to blue, the makeup also got a lot greener. The freshmen crop of Democrats have already demonstrated themselves to be gung-ho about addressing climate change – a welcome addition given the moderate environmental reforms we’ve seen suggested and enacted from Democrats up to this point.

As candidates, many of these legislators, like Colorado’s Joe Neguse, campaigned on a platform of taking a more aggressive approach on climate change. They largely back the Green New Deal, an ambitious push to fast track the country toward widespread renewable energy use.

Progressive standout Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez made headlines when she joined environmental protesters in occupying House Minority Leader (and likely Speaker) Nancy Pelosi’s office to call for the Green New Deal. This set off a debate between liberals as to whether it was appropriate to engage with a colleague in this way, or whether it was even appropriate to protest someone who’s on the “same team.”

Politico also wrote about a reported “fight” during a private House Democrat meeting, in which Ocasio-Cortez, and other newcomers called for the re-creation of a committee that specifically looks at climate change. (A panel of that nature existed previously in the late ’00s when Democrats held a majority.) Rep. Frank Pallone, the soon-to-be chair of the Energy and Commerce Committee, pushed back on the idea insisting that his own existing committee could do that work and an extra panel could just get in the way of progress.

Go figure that the old guard wants to continue to do it its own way. With all due respect to Pallone and likeminded incumbents, the existing modes of handling climate change aren’t getting us anywhere close to adequately tackling the crisis ahead of us. The new class has every reason to advocate for some new leadership, ideas and tactics.

While energy and commerce play a large role in climate change, there’s so much to the situation at hand to assume any one group can handle it. To her credit, Pelosi is on board with re-forming a climate change commission.

At least one new Democratic representative can testify to voters’ appetite for aggressive climate policy. Sean Casten, a longtime climate scientist, took on six-time Republican incumbent Peter Roskam in Illinois’s sixth district. Strategists may not have advocated Casten campaign on that issue, but it’s so central to Casten that he led with that anyway – and the conservative district elected him by a five-point margin.

It’s hard to say whether the existing political system is even capable of making the changes necessary, or that we have sufficient time to put those machinations in place, but one thing is for sure: I feel a lot more optimistic with these new leaders rabblerousing on behalf of legitimate change. Let’s continue to elect more leaders like these folks to give our planet a better shot.

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47 comments

John W
John W10 days ago

TYFST

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RosemaryRannes H

Kevin all i can say is absolutely & 'ditto' to your article Thank Goodness: New Crop of Congress Members Are Serious About Climate Change. Kudo's to the newbies in Congress who have the courage to stand up and speak out for Climate Change.

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Michael Friedmann

Thank You for Sharing This !!!

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Chad Anderson
Chad Anderson18 days ago

Thank you.

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FOTEINI c
foteini c20 days ago

Let's hope they'll go beyond committees!

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David C
David C22 days ago

thank you...think forward, think for others

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David C
David C22 days ago

tis their future, thanks

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Berenice Guedes de Sá
Berenice Guedes22 days ago

Thanks for sharing!

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Berenice Guedes de Sá
Berenice Guedes22 days ago

I do agree with Clare O'Beara - "they should all be serious" about this issue!!!!

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Berenice Guedes de Sá
Berenice Guedes22 days ago

This is a good news!!

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