January 13, 2022

New Dem Climate Change Task Force Leaders Call for Swift Action to Tackle the Existential Climate Crisis by Negotiating a Strong Build Back Better Act

Today, the New Democrat Coalition (NDC), led by Climate Change Task Force Co-Chairs Sean Casten (IL-06) and Susan Wild (PA-07) and New Democrat Coalition Vice Chair Scott Peters (CA-52), called for action to combat the climate crisis by reaching a strong agreement on a final Build Back Better Act to protect our planet for future generations. 

New Dems made going big on climate one of our top priorities for the Build Back Better Act and secured comprehensive climate policies in the House-passed bill to significantly cut greenhouse gas emissions, invest in resilience efforts, create green jobs, and ensure the U.S. leads the global fight against climate change. In the House, New Dems unanimously voted to pass the Build Back Better Act, which is the largest investment in climate action in American history. Now, Congress must reach an agreement on this bill that includes critical climate provisions as soon as possible for the future of our planet, people, and economy. Failure is not an option.

“From deadly ice storms in Texas and flash floods across the Eastern Seaboard to winter-time wildfires and tornadoes here in the Midwest, more than 40% of Americans live in counties hit by climate disasters in 2021– and that’s before you account for the 80% of Americans who suffered through extreme heat,” said NDC Climate Change Task Force Co-Chair Sean Casten (IL-06). “With a mandate from the American people to tackle this existential threat before it’s too late and a science-affirming President and majorities in the House and Senate, we have a window for action and a moral responsibility not to let it pass us by. Every day we fail to pass the baseline climate provisions in the Build Back Better Act in this Code Red moment, American families and businesses pay the price.

“Not only is the science crystal clear about what it will take to prevent even worse climate catastrophe, so are the economics. Anyone concerned that the fully paid-for climate provisions included in the House passed Build Back Better Act (totaling $550 billion over 10 years) are too costly need only consider NOAA’s finding that climate-fueled extreme weather cost the U.S. $750 billion over the past 5 years and $145 billion in 2021 alone. $1 million spent on clean energy in the U.S. generates more than twice as many jobs as $1 million spent on fossil fuels, which are responsible for a global economic loss of $8 billion every day. 

“Every day the Senate delays action is a day we remain dependent on fossil fuels – bringing higher prices, more volatile markets, more pollution, and more intense climate disasters subjecting more cities, towns, families, and small businesses across America to the pain felt by Coloradans after December’s Marshall Fire displaced 35,000 people and destroyed 1,000 homes. We must do better. For our last best chance at a livable future and a thriving clean energy economy, the climate investments in the Build Back Better Act must become law.”

“The people of PA-07 can’t wait for action to tackle the climate crisis and create good paying, clean energy jobs. The time is now,” said NDC Climate Change Task Force Co-Chair Susan Wild (PA-07). “As Co-Chair of the Climate Task Force in the New Democrat Coalition, I urge action on Build Back Better so we can get to work in solving the urgent, existential threats of our time and build a 21st century economy that competes to win.”

“We are on the clock when it comes to the climate crisis, and New Dems recognize the Build Back Better Act is our best shot for meaningful action,” said NDC Vice Chair for Policy Scott Peters (CA-52). “We must act rapidly to stimulate energy innovation, build climate resilience, and incentivize companies to reduce climate pollution and develop the clean technologies of the future. We can move forward on these climate priorities today, and then develop bipartisan legislative solutions for those priorities that can't pass as part of this process. There’s no time to waste—it’s imperative we address the climate emergency now.”

“In my own district in the Pacific Northwest, we have seen the effects of climate change up close as severe winter storms and flooding have impacted our families, businesses, homes, and local economies,” said NDC Chair Suzan DelBene (WA-01). “That’s why since day one, New Dems have called for ambitious action in the Build Back Better Act to tackle climate change by leveraging every tool to decrease emissions, invest in resilience efforts, and transition to a cleaner economy with good-paying jobs. We need to get the job done on climate for the future success of our planet and economy.” 

“There is no debate – the climate crisis is real and it is past time for Congress to take bold action,” said NDC Chair Emeritus Derek Kilmer (WA-06). “In my neck of the woods, we are seeing the devastating effects of climate change firsthand. Coastal tribal communities are having to move to higher ground. Those who work in our fisheries and shellfish growers are seeing changing ocean chemistries threaten their livelihoods. And there is a growing threat of forest fires throughout the region. That’s why the House passed the Build Back Better Act – the largest effort to combat climate change in American history. This legislation takes critical action that will not only help our planet, but create quality jobs and keep communities safe. Time is running out – and Congress must act.”

“We must meet the challenge of climate change confronting our nation,” said NDC Leadership Member Brad Schneider (IL-10). “We stand at the crossroads: If we do nothing, the world will lose nearly 20% of GDP in the years ahead. Already, American taxpayers are spending more than $100 billion per year to combat the impacts of extreme weather. Our children’s jobs, stability, and livelihoods are on the line and we are called to act. The Senate must find a way to pass Build Back Better.”