Getting things done in Washington — especially lasting change — requires support from both political parties.
U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin, D-Madison, joins U.S. Reps. Mike Gallagher, R-Green Bay, and Ron Kind, D-La Crosse, as the only Wisconsin members of this bipartisan group so far.
To depoliticize the climate challenge and build consensus toward solutions, the Climate Solutions Caucus welcomes pairs of lawmakers — one Republican and one Democrat — to join together. So Baldwin and fellow Democratic Sen. Debbie Stabenow of Michigan joined in February with two Republicans: Sens. Marco Rubio of Florida and Susan Collins of Maine.
Baldwin highlighted the threat a warming climate poses to Wisconsin’s farmers. Extreme weather causes flooding, crop and livestock losses. Heavier rains increase erosion and water pollution, which hurts our lakes and tourism.
“The longer we wait to act, the more costly climate change will be,” Baldwin said.
Rubio stressed the risk to coastal states.
“Changes in our climate, such as the rise of sea levels, are measurable facts,” he said. “Many communities in Florida are already dealing with the consequences.”
America needs broad and sustained action to cut carbon emissions, which trap heat in the atmosphere and warm the planet. One of the best and fastest ways to encourage clean energy alternatives is for the federal government to put a price on burning fossil fuels.
A carbon tax that doesn’t hurt average Americans is gaining support across the political spectrum. Revenue from the tax could be sent to the public in rebate checks, similar to the economic stimulus payments going to most U.S. adults now because of the coronavirus shutdown. Proponents say ordinary people would get more money back from a carbon tax than they would pay into it.
One easy priority for the Climate Solutions Caucus should be to embrace greater investment in scientific research. America should be leading the search for clean energy breakthroughs, not waiting for other nations to discover the future.
Approving smart legislation will require support from both political parties. Baldwin, Gallagher and Kind are trying hard to make that happen. The rest of Wisconsin’s congressional delegation should be, too.