In February, two members of the U.S. House of Representatives introduced a bipartisan bill to combat climate change. Led by Congressmen Dan Lipinski (D-IL) and John Faso (R-NY), the Challenges and Prizes for Climate Act of 2018 takes advantage of federal prize authority to spur clean energy innovation in areas such as energy efficiency, carbon capture, and climate resiliency. Clean energy prize competitions have been highly effective in the past, with previous successes including energy efficient LED light bulbs commonly used in houses today, and advances in hydrogen fuel cell technology for use in clean vehicles. Audubon has endorsed this bill because of its potential to yield major technological advances that address the causes of climate change.
The Faso and Lipinski bill comes from a partnership forged in the House Climate Solutions Caucus, a group of U.S. Representatives committed to promoting legislation that addresses the causes and effects of climate change. In order to remain truly bipartisan, the caucus has instituted a rule that all members join with a member from the other party, resulting in an evenly split voting bloc. In similar fashion, Lipinski and Faso have encouraged even cosponsorship of their bill, and eight additional representatives have already signed on.
In 2014, Audubon published its Birds and Climate Change Report, which showed that more than half of the bird species in North America could lose more than half of their current ranges by 2080 due to changing environmental conditions. Given the urgent threat that climate change poses to birds and people, Audubon remains committed to promoting solutions that will reduce carbon pollution at the speed and scale necessary. This bipartisan legislation creates an avenue through which important innovation can happen, and provides a meaningful action for House members from both sides of the aisle to address climate change.