By C3 Solutions
A recent National Clean Energy Week panel (sponsored by Citizens for Responsible Energy Solutions (CRES)) highlighted a rare bright spot in a dysfunctional capital – serious bipartisan action on climate. Indiana Republican senator Mike Braun and Delaware Democratic senator Chris Coons, who are the co-chairs of the bipartisan Senate Climate Solutions Caucus, were joined by former New Hampshire Republican senator Kelly Ayotte.
Ayotte opened the discussion by asking the Senator’s about why they started the Climate Solutions Caucus. For Braun joining Coons in the Caucus was an easy decision.
“Climate is the number two issue in my mind [behind healthcare],” Braun said. He added he was encouraged to see the free-market taking steps to address their carbon footprint, citing a recent decision by BP to move more into renewable energy.
These moves by the free market are what Braun described as “the basis” for his recently introduced Growing Climate Solutions Act, which gives farmers and ranchers access to carbon markets.
Both senators were optimistic and encouraged by the work of their caucus but said there is still more progress to be made.
From Braun’s perspective, a lot of work that needs to be done is in his own party.
“Our biggest issue has been that they [the Republican Party] do not realize that their supporters, traditional businesses…are for doing something [on climate action],” Braun said.
Senator Coons identified another area in which progress must be made to address climate change.
“If we look at the world, our biggest challenges in terms of climate change ultimately are going to come from places like China and India,” Coons said.
Coons noted developing nations are still struggling to provide reliable electricity to their citizens.
“[T]hey are more likely to build it [energy] out on dirty and emitting coal plants than to deploy advanced and clean energy plants if there isn’t a clear pathway towards those technologies,” Coons said.
Senator Braun’s leadership, courage, and willingness to offer conservative solutions shows that this is no longer a one-party issue.