U.S. Rep. Upton joins Climate Solutions Caucus to promote multiple initiatives

WASHINGTON D.C. — With the aim to help Michiganders be on the forefront of policies that seek to address challenges spurred by a changing climate, U.S. Rep. Fred Upton (R-St. Joseph) agreed to become part of a Climate Solutions Caucus.

Upton said he joined the bipartisan committee a couple of weeks ago. The Climate Solutions Caucus was founded in 2016 and is made up of an equal number of Democratic and Republican U.S. House of Representatives.

Upton described the caucus as a think tank where caucus members will discuss policy options that could address impacts, challenges and causes to the changing climate.

Fred Upton

“It [reinforces] the things I believe in,” Upton said. “I believe in energy efficiencies, whether it be automobiles or appliances. I am proud of the U.S.’s record, that we have actually decreased emissions over the past 15 to 20 years.”

Upton, who was born in Berrien County, said he grew up on the Great Lakes. Since becoming a U.S. representative, Upton said protecting Michigan’s natural beauty has always been in his best interest. He cited his work with the Great Lakes Caucus and as the chairman for the Subcommittee on Energy as some examples of this mission.

As a member of the caucus, Upton said he hopes to stay informed on policies regarding the protection of the Great Lakes and strategies for developing clean energy.

While he said the caucus is not a legislative committee that has the power to create laws, he did say that those who are part of the organization will discuss amendments on different bills, as well as ways to create initiatives and alerts related to climate change.

Upton said the caucus could also help him to stay on the forefront of automobile technology, including the development of autonomous
vehicles.

“For Michigan, the auto industry is our bread and butter. Let’s face it,” Upton said. “And as one that helped to lead the auto rescue plan, with millions of jobs at stake, particularly on the supplier side of things, which includes our district, we are glad to see that the auto industry has recovered.”

When President Donald Trump announced on June 1, 2017, that he would be withdrawing American involvement from the Paris Climate Accord — a non-binding agreement which sought to bring countries together to tackle issues of climate change — some legislators decided to formulate plans to commit to climate change solutions on their own.

Upton said his choice to join the caucus had nothing to do with Trump’s decision to withdraw from the accord, but Upton did say that withdrawing from the Paris Accord was a move he did not
support. 

“I was one of the detractors on that,” Upton said. “I said it was not a good idea. We now are the only nation in the world that is not a partner on the Paris Accords.”

Upton said he has mostly received positive feedback from constituents since joining the caucus, though a few have questioned what it means for his stance on certain issues.

“Someone came in the other day and said, ‘I hope this does not mean that you are for Cap-And-Trade and new carbon tax.’ I said, ‘no, no, no,’” Upton said.

Ultimately, Upton said the caucus’ goal is all about finding ways to have cleaner environment, which he said anyone of any political affiliation should support.

“What’s important about all these caucuses, whether it be this one or the Auto Caucus or the Great Lakes Caucus, is it establishes a network of Republicans and Democrats that can work together on a common goal,” Upton said. “For me, I have never been a climate denier. Climate change continues, and as one that grew up on the Great Lakes, clean, water, clean air is
important.”

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