It’s official: When Democrats take control of the House of Representatives next month, they will form a special new committee to examine climate change, Nancy Pelosi said in a statement on Friday.
Pelosi, likely the next speaker of the House, also announced that the new committee will be named the Select Committee on the Climate Crisis. It will be led by Kathy Castor, a seven-term representative from Tampa Bay.
“The American people have demanded action to combat the climate crisis, which threatens our public health, our economy, our national security and the whole of God’s creation,” Pelosi said in the statement. “Congresswoman Castor is a proven champion for public health and green infrastructure, who deeply understands the scope and seriousness of this threat.”
Castor, a longtime member of the Energy and Commerce Committee, has already promised to decline all campaign contributions from coal, oil, or gas companies. Pelosi has not yet described exactly what the committee will do, but House committees of this type can hold hearings, write reports, and bring public attention to political issues.
With its formation, Pelosi makes good on her 2018 campaign promise to revive a special climate-focused committee. (After Republicans took control of the House in 2010, they shuttered the last special climate committee, which Pelosi established in 2007.) But the new committee arrives to a delicate family situation in the Democratic Party. A number of activists on the party’s left have greeted the announcement with frustration. They had hoped (and protested) for a more ambitious Green New Deal committee. Such a panel, they imagined, might finally draft a unified Democratic climate policy, a plan to improve the lot of American workers while massively overhauling the economy to prepare for climate change.