The Washington Post

Climate-caucus redux: new group isn’t the first

(Howard Buffett/WWF-US)

Flash forward nearly 12 years, and the politics are very different. In a sign of just how things have changed, this month, another group formed. Its name is the rather euphemistic “Safe Climate Caucus” and its membership doesn’t include a single Republican.

Members of the new group, spearheaded by Rep. Henry Waxman (D-Calif.) have promised to take the bold step of ... talking about climate change every day on the House floor.

The name seems a bit of clever branding. After all, it’s practically mainstream to deny “climate change,” but who doesn’t want a “safe climate”? We hear Waxman himself picked the moniker to focus on the “heart of the issue.”

The now-defunct Climate Change Caucus was led by former Reps. Wayne Gilchrest (R-Md.) and John Olver (D-Mass.), and the enterprise petered out after Gilchrest was defeated in 2008.

Gilchrest, now director of Maryland’s Sassafras Environmental Education Center, wasn’t surprised to hear that the Climate Change Caucus had disbanded, or that no Republicans had joined the new group.

But he’s unimpressed with any rebranding efforts. “It’s a little silly to call it anything but what it is,” he said.

Guess it will take more than that for the GOP to warm to the effort.

Emily Heil is the co-author of the Reliable Source and previously helped pen the In the Loop column with Al Kamen.


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