Senators launch bipartisan climate change initiative

WASHINGTON — An unlikely duo on Capitol Hill is teaming up to find the solution for a pressing problem: climate change.

Indiana Sen. Mike Braun, a Republican, and Delaware Sen. Chris Coons, a Democrat, are introducing the first-ever bipartisan Senate Climate Solutions Caucus. After meeting with constituents in town halls across both of their very different states, the lawmakers said they realized how crucial it is for lawmakers from both parties to address the issue.

"For too long, Washington has been paralyzed by partisan gamesmanship, unable to have productive conversations about our changing climate," said Braun, a freshman lawmaker. "Through this caucus we can have real conversations about protecting our environment, securing American’s energy future and protecting American manufacturing jobs."

The senators are planning on filling the caucus with an equal number of Republicans and Democrats, who have not yet been announced. The group will first meet with scientists, policy experts and business leaders to try to find common ground and move forward from there. The senators said that the group will only move forward with ideas if there is unanimous consent.

Related: Climate change protest marches around the world 

18 PHOTOS
Climate change protest marches around the world
See Gallery
Climate change protest marches around the world
MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - SEPTEMBER 20: Student demonstrators and thousands of environmentalist gather on a demonstration during Climate Strike to draw the attention of global warming and climate change, in Melbourne, Australia on September 20, 2019. (Photo by Recep Sakar/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)
SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - SEPTEMBER 20: School students throw up an inflatable globe during a Climate strike rally on September 20, 2019 in Sydney, Australia. Rallies held across Australia are part of a global mass day of action demanding action on the climate crisis. (Photo by Mark Evans/Getty Images)
SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - SEPTEMBER 20: Thousands of school students participate in a Climate strike rally on September 20, 2019 in Sydney, Australia. Rallies held across Australia are part of a global mass day of action demanding action on the climate crisis. (Photo by Mark Evans/Getty Images)
SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - SEPTEMBER 20: Thousands of school students participate in a Climate strike rally on September 20, 2019 in Sydney, Australia. Rallies held across Australia are part of a global mass day of action demanding action on the climate crisis. (Photo by Mark Evans/Getty Images)
MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - SEPTEMBER 20: Student demonstrators and thousands of environmentalist gather on a demonstration during Climate Strike to draw the attention of global warming and climate change, in Melbourne, Australia on September 20, 2019. (Photo by Recep Sakar/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)
MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - SEPTEMBER 20: Student demonstrators and thousands of environmentalist gather on a demonstration during Climate Strike to draw the attention of global warming and climate change, in Melbourne, Australia on September 20, 2019. (Photo by Recep Sakar/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)
Thousands of demonstrators take part in a Global Climate Strike on 20 September, 2019 in London, England, to draw international attention to the climate emergency and ecological crisis. Millions of people are expected to take to the streets in over 4,000 locations in more than 130 countries across the world during a week-long mobilisation. (Photo by WIktor Szymanowicz/NurPhoto via Getty Images)
Thousands of demonstrators take part in a Global Climate Strike on 20 September, 2019 in London, England, to draw international attention to the climate emergency and ecological crisis. Millions of people are expected to take to the streets in over 4,000 locations in more than 130 countries across the world during a week-long mobilisation. (Photo by WIktor Szymanowicz/NurPhoto via Getty Images)
Thousands of demonstrators take part in a Global Climate Strike on 20 September, 2019 in London, England, to draw international attention to the climate emergency and ecological crisis. Millions of people are expected to take to the streets in over 4,000 locations in more than 130 countries across the world during a week-long mobilisation. (Photo by WIktor Szymanowicz/NurPhoto via Getty Images)
Thousands of demonstrators take part in a Global Climate Strike on 20 September, 2019 in London, England, to draw international attention to the climate emergency and ecological crisis. Millions of people are expected to take to the streets in over 4,000 locations in more than 130 countries across the world during a week-long mobilisation. (Photo by WIktor Szymanowicz/NurPhoto via Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NEW YORK - SEPTEMBER 20: Activist Greta Thunberg leads the Youth Climate Strike in an effort to promote awareness and change to current global enviornmental policies on September 20, 2019 in New York City. (Photo by John Lamparski/WireImage)
NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 20: Activists attend a rally for action on climate change on September 20, 2019 in New York City. In what could be the largest climate protest in history and inspired by the teenage Swedish activist Greta Thunberg, people around the world are taking to the streets to demand action to combat climate change. (Photo by Kena Betancur/VIEWpress/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 20: Activists attend a rally for action on climate change on September 20, 2019 in New York City. In what could be the largest climate protest in history and inspired by the teenage Swedish activist Greta Thunberg, people around the world are taking to the streets to demand action to combat climate change. (Photo by Kena Betancur/VIEWpress/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 20: Young activists from the Amazon attend a rally for action on climate change on September 20, 2019 in New York City. In what could be the largest climate protest in history and inspired by the teenage Swedish activist Greta Thunberg, people around the world are taking to the streets to demand action to combat climate change. (Photo by Kena Betancur/VIEWpress/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 20: Activists attend a rally for action on climate change on September 20, 2019 in New York City. In what could be the largest climate protest in history and inspired by the teenage Swedish activist Greta Thunberg, people around the world are taking to the streets to demand action to combat climate change. (Photo by Kena Betancur/VIEWpress/Getty Images)
School students and protesters gather for a climate strike march on September 20, 2019 in Berlin, Germany. Fridays for Future global strike attracted hundreds of thousands of school students and adult protesters to march on the streets of Berlin to demand action on climate change. Similar protest took place in most major cities around the globe. (Photo by Dominika Zarzycka/NurPhoto via Getty Images)
BERLIN, GERMANY - SEPTEMBER 20: Participants in the Fridays For Future movement protest during a nationwide climate change action day in front of the Brandenburg Gate on September 20, 2019 in Berlin, Germany. Fridays for Future protests and strikes are registered today in over 400 cities across Germany. The activists are demanding that the German government and corporations take a fast-track policy route towards lowering CO2 emissions and combating the warming of the Earth's temperatures. (Photo by Maja Hitij/Getty Images)
BERLIN, GERMANY - SEPTEMBER 20: Participants in the Fridays For Future movement protest during a nationwide climate change action day in front of the Brandenburg Gate on September 20, 2019 in Berlin, Germany. Fridays for Future protests and strikes are registered today in over 400 cities across Germany. The activists are demanding that the German government and corporations take a fast-track policy route towards lowering CO2 emissions and combating the warming of the Earth's temperatures. (Photo by Maja Hitij/Getty Images)
HIDE CAPTION
SHOW CAPTION
of
SEE ALL
BACK TO SLIDE

"Bipartisan ideas already exist — from improving energy efficiency and investing in R&D to supporting energy security and workforce development. This caucus will provide a forum through which we can advance proposals like these into law and finally do what the American people expect and deserve — act,” says Coons.

There is already Climate Solutions Caucus in the House, with 63 members — 22 Republicans and 41 Democrats. When asked how the Senate caucus will address existing ideas, such as the Green New Deal, the senators said that the caucus was more focused on specific policy proposals rather than the broad-strokes ideological platform.

The caucus also won't have a chair or a ranking member, according to the senators.

"Our caucus will help facilitate these discussions by bringing an equal number of members from each party to the table, and it will only act when each member agrees," says Braun.

Braun chairs the Senate Environment and Public Works Subcommittee on Clean Air and Nuclear Safety, while Coons introduced the Climate Action Rebate Act in July.

Read Full Story