It has already been a tough year for those who want bipartisan leadership on climate change.
But even in the face of hostility for climate action from the Republican leadership in Washington, there are signs of positive change within the party.
This House resolution on climate change is the latest sign that more Republicans are changing their tune on this and other environmental protection issues. Earlier this year, nine Republicans broke with their party on a vote to repeal an Obama-era rule to protect waterways from coal mining runoff. And 11 Republicans voted against a repeal of a rule to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from the oil and gas industry.
It is little wonder that Republicans are increasingly willing to buck special interests on the issue. Lawmakers are seeing more and more climate change-related impacts in their home districts. The economic opportunities provided by climate action are enormous. And their constituents are calling for solutions.
That is certainly the case in Pennsylvania……….
It was a Republican state senator from Delaware County, Ted Erickson, who sponsored the Climate Change Act of 2008, which calls for state impact assessments and a climate change action plan. A Republican chief justice of the state Supreme Court, Ronald Castille, wrote the 2013 opinion upholding the Environmental Rights Amendment of the Pennsylvania Constitution.
The House resolution does not make specific policy recommendations for preventing future climate disruptions. And more signers are needed before the caucus will have the votes necessary to command the respect it needs. But this is real progress.
Costello, Fitzpatrick, and Meehan recognize that everyone has much to gain if we act on climate change, regardless of political affiliation. Let’s hope they convince more of their GOP colleagues to join them. And those of us who live in other districts represented by Republicans can do our part by asking them to join this resolution.
John C. Dernbach is the commonwealth professor of environmental law and sustainability and the director of the Environmental Law and Sustainability Center at Widener University Commonwealth Law School. email@example.com http://www.philly.com/philly/opinion/commentary/20170405_Commentary__GOP_climate_resolution_deserves_wider_support.html