Pelosi Names Castor Chair of New Committee to Address Climate Crisis

December 28, 2018, 7:41 PM UTC

House speaker-designate Nancy Pelosi chose Rep. Kathy Castor of Florida to chair the Select Committee on the Climate Crisis, a new panel created to address issues related to climate change and renewable energy in the Democratic-led House next year.

“This committee will be critical to the entire Congress’s mission to respond to the urgency of this threat while creating the good-paying, green jobs of the future,” Pelosi said in a statement Friday.

Castor said Friday that the committee she will lead “must act with urgency” to limit carbon dioxide pollution and create green energy jobs.

“The costs of the changing climate and extreme weather events pose greater risks every day to American families, businesses and our way of life,” she tweeted Friday. “The Select Committee on the Climate Crisis and a new generation of leaders in Congress – who understand the scientific imperative – will tackle the crisis head-on. Failure is not an option.”

The urgency of climate change was brought to the forefront of global discussions earlier this fall when the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change released a special report detailing the “unprecedented changes” nations must undergo in order to limit the rise in global temperatures to 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels.

One major change needed is a transition towards renewable energies and away from polluting fuels like coal. Recently, representative-elect Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has promoted the creation of a “Select Committee for a Green New Deal” dedicated to making the U.S. economy greenhouse gas emissions neutral.

Castor told E&E News last week that she thinks Green New Deal advocates “have some terrific ideas . . . but that’s not going to be our sole focus.”

This, combined with reports that Pelosi’s committee will not have the authority to approve legislation or have subpoena power, has prompted criticism from Green New Deal advocates, The Washington Post reports.