Republicans consider ‘environmentally sound’ approach to climate policy if they take control of the House

House Republicans previewed how their party would approach climate and energy policy if they win a majority in the House of Representatives at an event at the United Nations Climate Summit known as COP27 in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt this week.

The GOP delegation to COP27 included members of the Conservative Climate Caucus who serve on critical House committees that deal with issues relating to regulations to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and energy policy.

Representative Garret Graves of Louisiana, a senior member of the House Select Committee on Climate, and other Republicans at the summit said the United States should not demonize fossil fuels like natural gas and that these types of fuels can always be part of the energy transition. to a cleaner energy system.

“The target here that we are trying to attack is that emissions are not the source of energy, and I think our research and development needs to focus on the types of energy resources that each country has and in the United States l “One of those is oil and gas, 30 times the energy density of the next closest renewable,” he said.

Rich Powell, Co-Chair of the Conservative Climate Foundation, left, moderates a panel discussion titled Conservative Solutions to Global Climate Challenges: A Robust U.S. Energy, Climate, and Conservation Agenda, with from second to left, Heather Reams, president of Citizens for Responsible Energy Solutions, U.S. Rep. John Curtis, of Utah, U.S. Rep. Garret Graves, R-La., U.S. Rep. Dan Crenshaw, R-Texas, and U.S. Rep. Mariannette Miller-Meeks, R-Iowa, in the US pavilion at the UN Climate Summit COP27, in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt, November 11, 2022.

Thomas Hartwell/AP

He added: “So one of the things we should be doing is not attacking oil and gas, but attacking the emissions associated with it until they can be indistinguishable from the other renewable energy technologies until they can be an arrow in the quiver as we try to achieve our goals of energy, affordability, reliability, cleanliness, exportability and securing the Supply Chain.”

Graves also said the country needs to invest more to help communities in areas vulnerable to climate change impacts, such as near coasts, adapt or become more resilient to climate change impacts, as the cost of recovery after extreme storms becomes too large. high.

“It’s about investing in communities where you have vulnerabilities, making sure those communities are resilient enough to weather those storms and disasters that ensure we don’t keep coming in to pick up the pieces, keep coming and spending those billions of dollars,” he said.

The delegation pointed out that their caucus represents Republicans who care about protecting the planet and are confident that climate change is an issue that needs to be tackled, but they disagree with what they call “radical environmentalism” which says the world will end if we don’t stop all fossil fuels immediately and wind and solar are the only solutions.

“I distinguish between radical environmentalism and rational environmentalism. Radical environmentalism is what we see most often. And it perpetuates downright scary and stupid solutions,” said Rep. Dan Crenshaw, R-Texas. , referring to the rhetoric that says the world is on fire and attributes all extreme weather events to climate change.

PHOTO: U.S. Representative Dan Crenshaw, R-Texas, attends a panel discussion in the U.S. Pavilion during the UN COP27 Climate Summit in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt, November 11, 2022.

U.S. Representative Dan Crenshaw, R-Texas, attends a panel discussion titled Conservative Solutions to Global Climate Challenges: A Robust U.S. Energy, Climate, and Conservation Agenda, in the U.S. Pavilion during the United Nations Summit on the COP27 climate, in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt, on November 11, 2022.

Thomas Hartwell/AP

“There is a cost. There are issues that we need to address and that we have an interest in mitigating,” Crenshaw said. “There are conservation efforts that we better continue. Absolutely. But let’s not lie to our children and scare them to death and tell them they’re going to be burned alive because of this, because it’s not not what it says. That’s not what the UN report says.”

Crenshaw called for “rational environmentalism,” where both sides can agree on the need for clean air, clean water, better conservation and cleaner energy.

Crenshaw said Europe’s energy crisis has been made worse by countries’ efforts to shift to renewables too quickly, calling it a mistaken “deification” of wind and solar as the only solution that risks backfiring. long-term.

“We better not have a higher cost for our solutions than the problem itself. We better have rational environmentalism instead of radical environmentalism, radical environmentalism will send us down the path of poverty and despair,” he said.

Crenshaw said the United States should allow the oil and gas industry to grow so the country can export more natural gas to replace coal-fired power plants overseas, which he said would ultimately reduce global emissions. Panelists also said the country should also invest in more technologies like nuclear power that can be used in the United States and exported to developing countries to help them grow their economies without increasing the use of fuels like the coal.

The UN climate science panel says the world needs to stop investing in new fossil fuel infrastructure as soon as possible to meet emission reduction targets to limit warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius and that most new fossil fuel infrastructure will eventually be abandoned as it is replaced by cleaner energy sources.

PHOTO: In this June 23, 2021, file photo, Rep. John Curtis, R-Utah, speaks during the press conference introducing the Republican Climate Caucus outside the Capitol in Washington, DC

In this June 23, 2021 file photo, Rep. John Curtis, R-Utah, speaks during the press conference introducing the Republican Climate Caucus outside the Capitol in Washington, DC

Bill Clark/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images, FILE

Rep. John Curtis, R-Utah, said there’s a lot of interest among Republicans in protecting the land and the environment, referring to his state’s voters in places like Carbon County, Utah. , who resent the rhetoric against fossil fuels and want to be part of the solution by pivoting to mine more critical minerals for clean energy technologies. But he said those projects are difficult because much of his state is federal land where mining projects aren’t allowed or have stricter requirements.

Curtis said the goal of the caucus will be to educate even more Republicans about what climate action looks like according to Republican values ​​and that there is room for bipartisan climate policies.

“Without Republicans engaging in this debate, we will not make the progress we need as a country, any meaningful achievement in the United States has been bipartisan,” Curtis said. “The ideas not only that, the ideas that Republicans bring to the table are essential to achieving the goals we all have for a better environment,” he said.

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