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Representative John Curtis of Utah hosted a meeting last weekend for a small clutch of House Republicans in Salt Lake City, Utah, to discuss how to revamp their party’s climate change proposals to compete with Democrats and the Biden administration. Outside organizations such as the Chamber of Commerce, American Conservation Coalition, Citizens for Responsible Energy Solutions, and the Alliance for Market Solutions participated in various panel discussions. Representatives Garret Graves, Cathy McMorris Rodgers, and Frank Lewis were some of the 25 who attended, according to the Washington Examiner.
Why this Matters: Polls show that the Republican Party is losing popularity among young and suburban voters that are concerned about the environment and climate change. The attendees at the Utah meeting seemed to coalesce around proposals that focus on clean energy innovations, like carbon capture for fossil fuel plants and new nuclear reactors. As Congressional Democrats and the Biden administration are expected to try to move a massive infrastructure bill that involves investments in clean energy and carbon taxes, some Republicans are likely to respond with legislation focused on market-based solutions and technology. Bring it on!
Republicans on Conservation
The recent meeting is evidence that some Republicans may believe the party needs to change its tune on climate change — that climate change denial may not be part of the Republican Party’s strategy for much longer. Republicans from various relevant committees attended the conference: Reps. Frank Lucas of the Science, Space, and Technology Committee, Glenn Thompson of the Agriculture Committee, Cathy McMorris Rodgers of the Energy and Commerce Committee, and Jason Smith of the Budget Committee. Rep. Garret Graves, the top Republican on the Select Committee on Climate Crisis, and Rep. David McKinley of West Virginia, a coal state member who has previously introduced carbon reduction legislation, were also there. Former Rep. Carlos Curbelo, who had introduced carbon tax legislation, moderated one of the conference’s panels.
Rep. Bruce Westerman of Arkansas, another attendee, told E&E News yesterday: “Unlike some of the policies that we’re seeing come out of the Biden administration and from Democrats on the Hill, we think that we can pose a strategy that’s good for the environment and for the economy.” He suggested Republicans should “reclaim the narrative” from Democrats who he said view fighting climate change as largely about reducing carbon emissions, emphasizing that “conservatives who came up with conservation.” “This is not just something Republicans are going to give lip service to,” Westerman said to the Washington Examiner.
Rep. John Curtis of Utah, who organized the event, echoed the sentiment last year: ”I regret that many of my Republican colleagues still run from this issue. And I think that’s just unfortunate. I think we need to own it. We need to go on the offensive.”
Special Presidential Envoy on Climate (or “SPEC”) Kerry is engaging with key nations this week in the run-up to the Global Summit in two weeks. In India yesterday he met with Prime Minister Narenda Modi, who reaffirmed his government’s commitment to its Paris pledges, including increasing its non-fossil fuel power capacity to 40% and substantially boosting forest cover to reduce CO2. Kerry visits Bangladesh today.
Why This Matters: Kerry is using these visits to try to elicit elevated commitments from other major emitters — China and India.
by Natasha Lasky, ODP Staff Writer While scientists have long agreed that human activity was the biggest driver of climate change, there hasn’t yet been evidence from direct observation (the gold standard of scientific research) until now. NASA has completed the first study of its kind, which has calculated the recent causes of climate change […]
by Natasha Lasky, ODP Staff Writer Both Kyoto, Japan, and Washington D.C. are known for their cherry blossom seasons in the first few weeks of warming spring weather. This year, cherry blossom season came early in both of these cities. In Kyoto, the blooms peaked last Friday, the earliest in more than 1,200 years of […]
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