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Lipinski, Fortenberry Introduce Bipartisan Bill to Spur Climate Change Solutions

WASHINGTON--Congressmen Dan Lipinski (IL-3) and Jeff Fortenberry (NE-1) this week reintroduced the bipartisan Challenges and Prizes for Climate Act of 2019 to spur innovation in key areas critical to combating climate change.  The legislation encourages public-private research partnerships and awards the most innovative solutions to address climate change based on the existing federal prize authority.

“We have reached a critical juncture in the fight against global warming and need to encourage technological innovation that addresses climate change using sustainable, research-based methods,” said Lipinski.  “Federal and private sector prize competitions have led to incredible breakthroughs and have the opportunity to play an important role in addressing the global climate change crisis. In addition to helping preserve the environment for future generations, harnessing ingenuity of the American research enterprise will also help spur our economy as we lead the world in the development of new technology and create green jobs.”

The legislation, H.R. 3100, directs the Secretary of Energy to establish a program called “Climate Solutions Challenges,” which will organize prize competitions around five topics, including carbon capture, energy efficiency, energy storage, climate resiliency, and data analytics to better understand the changing climate and weather patterns.

“I’m interested in solutions to environmental security––this bill will help spur necessary innovation and bridge us to a more sustainable future,” Fortenberry said.

Other sponsors of the bipartisan legislation include Reps. Brian Fitzpatrick (PA-1), Charlie Crist (FL-13), Francis Rooney (FL-19), Ted Deutch (FL-22), Jennifer González-Colón (Puerto Rico), Stephanie Murphy (FL-7), Chris Smith (NJ-4), and Derek Kilmer (WA-6).  Rep. Lipinski and many of the co-sponsors are members of the Climate Solutions Caucus, which seeks to promote bipartisan solutions to address climate change.

The bill has the backing of several environmental groups.

“Energy efficiency is foundational to our efforts to address climate change, and the opportunity to advance efficiency through new technology is enormous,” said Alliance to Save Energy President Jason Hartke. “Programs like this that incentivize innovation through competition are a key part of the solution. We applaud Reps. Lipinski and Fortenberry for their leadership with this bill and for working in a bipartisan way to address climate change.”

The National Audubon Society also supported Lipinski and Fortenberry’s efforts.

“Audubon’s research tells us that 314 species of North American birds are threatened by climate change, which is why we are excited about this effort to spur clean energy innovation,” said Jesse Walls, senior director of government affairs at National Audubon Society. “Clean energy competitions and prizes have a record of transforming industries and markets, and we are hopeful this one will yield some major advances and inspire public-private partnerships to jumpstart real clean energy innovation. We are grateful to Representatives Lipinski and Fortenberry for spearheading this effort.”