Special committee on climate change meets for first time

March 28, 2019 GMT

A new congressional panel tasked with coming up with solutions to global warming kicked off Thursday with congenial remarks, but little sense for where their work will end up.

While Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s Green New Deal is absorbing much of the attention in the climate debate, it’s still not clear how much that will dominate work by the Select Committee on the Climate Crisis.

Chairwoman Kathy Castor, Florida Democrat, has already introduced her own bill that would require the U.S. to honor the carbon emission commitments it made to the world in the 2015 Paris Agreement.

“I expect that we will find areas of common ground,” Ms. Castor said Thursday as the panel met to set its rules. “Ultimately to fulfill our charge we must address what is necessary for America to truly address the climate crisis.”

The panel has a year to complete its work, which will involve making recommendations to other committees.

Republicans said any work the committee does should account for what the real-world impacts would be. They tried to amend the committee’s rules to require any final recommendations to include quantitative analysis on how the proposals would affect sea level, regional economies and government spending.

“Let’s understand the implications both good and bad,” ranking member Rep. Garret Graves, Louisiana Republican, said. “We want more science incorporated in this process.”

That request was rejected by Democrats, who said the GOP was free to add its own views as an addendum to any reports.