Rep. Ted Deutch on the Immediate Threat of Climate Change

As toxic and partisan rhetoric reigns on the Hill, Democratic Congressman Ted Deutch joins the program to discuss one issue that has gained bipartisan support: addressing the immediate threat of climate change.

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REP. TED DEUTCH, CONGRESSMAN: Well, I’m getting serious where there is now serious attention in a bipartisan way in Congress to focus on this because, Christiane, we have to, given the urgency of this issue. Look, we have introduced a bipartisan carbon fee bill that we are confident will change behavior, will dramatically reduce carbon emissions and will finally help to show that America is committed to being a leader on combating climate change. We’re going to do it by imposing a carbon fee at the place of emissions. So, we’re going the start at $15 a metric ton, we’re going to up $10 per year and it’s going to be at the coal mine, at the oil refinery, at the natural gas processing plant. All of the money that comes in through this carbon fee is then going to be rebated to American families. That’s the difference here between this and other attempts, both in America and around the world. All of the money is going to go back to the American people so that the majority of Americans, lower-income and middle-income Americans, will actually see more coming back to them than the amount that their energy costs will rise. And all of that is in the short-term until behavior changes and we see a change in the way the energy industry is structured.

AMANPOUR: I know that you have, correct me if I’m wrong, at least one or two Republicans signed up. But on if other hand, you were meant to join me today with your Republican co-sponsor, Francis Rooney, also of Florida. He, for whatever reason, has not been able to turn up. And I wonder whether, you know, of course, there’s scheduling conflicts and all the rest of it, but I wonder whether it’s difficult still for Republicans to put their head above the parapet?

DEUTCH: Well, first of all, let’s be clear about one thing, in the United States, climate change is only a partisan issue in Washington. I come from South Florida, where every business leader and local, whether they are Democrats or Republicans, understand the impact of climate change because we see sea level rise affecting our community and our economy already. My colleague, Mr. Rooney, couldn’t join us, but I can safely say he is not been bashful in his advocacy for this legislation and the need for us to act in a bipartisan way. We just have to break through in Washington. It’s frustrating that it’s been so difficult when this is an issue that impacts literally every part of our country. But we’re starting to see more people ask questions, engage and figure out how they can be helpful to do this with us.

About This Episode EXPAND

Christiane Amanpour speaks with Rep. Ted Deutsch and author David Blight. Hari Sreenivasan speaks with former Aetna CEO Mark Bertolini.