A Republican majority in the House means U.S. Rep. Kathy Castor won’t remain Chair for a climate change committee. Now, GOP leadership suggests the committee will not remain intact at all.

Castor said the House Select Committee on the Climate Crisis must continue in some form.

“House Republicans ignore the climate crisis to the detriment of America,” the Tampa Democrat said. “It’s baffling that the GOP has no plan to address the rising costs and escalating impacts of climate change. Their inaction and lockstep alliance with polluters are exacting a toll on everyday Americans, farmers, and communities alike — making it harder to afford basics like water, electricity and energy.”

When Democrats won control of the House in 2018, then-incoming Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced the formation of the select committee, with Castor as Chair.

Castor has led the committee since, and made addressing climate change a central part of her political agenda. During the years since creation of the committee, the Democratic House has passed more than 400 recommendations included in the Climate Crisis Action Plan, a product of the committee’s work. About 200 recommendations have been signed into law.

But while environmental protection plays well across the aisle in Florida, the very existence of climate change remains a contentious issue for Republicans across the country.

The Hill reported on Friday that a GOP majority under incoming Speaker Kevin McCarthy is expected to eliminate the committee altogether. The article quoted Rep. Garret Graves, the ranking Republican on the committee now.

“We don’t see a scenario where the ‘Climate Crisis Committee,’ a creature of Pelosi, will continue to exist,” he said.

Castor argued that’s the wrong move.

“Republicans seem eager to go down a path of increasing sweltering hot days, gutting clean air protections, padding the profits of Big Oil, and refusing to take a serious look at the cost-cutting potential of clean energy,” she said.

She said an absence of any policy work focused on the climate will be consequential for the nation.

“Ignoring the climate crisis is not an option for the millions of Americans whose lives have been devastated by floods, wildfires, and destructive superstorms like Katrina, Sandy, Maria, and Ian,” she said.

“And Republicans who continue to ignore the devastating impacts of climate-fueled disasters do so at their own peril. Millions of young Americans whose lives have been shaped by climate anxiety are now old enough to vote, with some of them already even running for office. I trust that they will hold Republicans accountable for any attempts to move America back to the past century, as will the millions of Americans whose communities will benefit from the cost-saving clean energy investments in our Inflation Reduction Act.

“It’s way past time for Republicans to take the climate crisis seriously.”

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