Rep. John Curtis, R-Utah., is leading 52 Republicans in the effort, nearly a fourth of all congressional Republicans.
“The caucus is a place for Republicans to advance serious climate solutions, but do not ask them to leave their conservative values at the door,” Curtis told reporters on Capitol Hill. “We too want to leave this Earth better than we found it.”
The new caucus demonstrates the growing number of Republican lawmakers who say they need to be a part of the climate conversation. The group will organize trips, arrange briefings, and introduce members to leaders in the industry, according to a memo outlining their core principles obtained by NBC News.
Curtis, chairman of the new caucus, has been an advocate for climate change solutions since running for Congress but rejects progressive proposals such as the Green New Deal.
“Why does the climate question scare you? Are you really content with the label of not caring about the Earth?” Curtis said in an April speech at the Sutherland Institute. “If I utter the word ‘climate,’ why does my wife get panic calls that [I] have gone off the deep end and I’m now in league with AOC?”
Environmental policy has become a partisan subject in Washington over the past two decades. In 2019, the Senate launched a bipartisan Climate Solutions Caucus led by Mike Braun, R-Ind., and Chris Coons, D-Del.
For now, the House caucus will focus on educating Republicans “on climate policies and legislation consistent with conservative values,” with the hope that one day they can work across the aisle to craft meaningful policy.
“Climate change should not be a partisan issue. The environment surrounds all of us, and we have a vested interest in protecting, maintaining, and growing it for future generations,” said Rep. Meijer, a member of the House caucus.