In this November 3, 2020 file photo, Republican Representatives Chris Stewart, left, and John Curtis speak at a Utah Republican election night in Sandy, Utah. Curtis is leading a new Conservative climate caucus for House Republicans. The group wants to educate its fellow Republican on global warming and develop market-based policies to counter the Green New Deal and other Democratic proposals, Sandy, Utah, November 3, 2020 | Associated Press Photo by Rick Bowmer, St. George News
WASHINGTON (AP) – Utah Representative John Curtis says he’s tired of hearing Republicans – his party mates – don’t care about climate change or slowing global warming.
A former mayor of Provo who has been in Congress since 2017, Curtis says Republicans can push for serious climate solutions while respecting conservative values. To prove this point, he formed the Conservative Climate Caucus, an all-GOP group aimed at educating fellow Republicans on climate change and advancing market-based policies to counter the Green New Deal and other proposals. democrats.
“Those who watch this caucus will see that Republicans care about this Earth – deeply,” Curtis said at a press conference Wednesday.
âWe too want to leave this Earth better than we have found it. We don’t need to kill the US economy to meet our climate goals. In fact, it is quite the opposite. There is a way to reduce emissions without sacrificing jobs and American principles. And I believe the Republicans are the ones running this. “
Leading Republicans, including former President Donald Trump, have laughed at climate change as a hoax and downplayed the effects of warming temperatures caused by fossil fuel emissions. Trump has withdrawn the United States from the global Paris climate agreement and his Environmental Protection Agency has refused to update a website highlighting evidence of climate change in the United States, including the rising temperatures, increasing ocean acidity and more severe droughts and forest fires.
Representative Peter Meijer of Michigan, another caucus member, said it was high time Republicans recognized the reality of climate change and come up with solutions that reduce carbon emissions while staying “aligned with our business community. “.
Members of the climate caucus “will not bring snowballs to the floor of the House,” Meijer said. âWe provide solutions. We are not using this as a cheap talking point.
Meijer was referring to a 2015 incident when Senator Jim Inhofe, R-Okla., Brought a snowball to the Senate to challenge global warming.
Meijer, a freshman who voted to impeach Trump in January, admitted Republicans have an image problem on climate change, but said Democrats must answer for their own excesses.
“Far too often,” he said, “our colleagues across the aisle see the environment as a cloak they can wrap any policy, just another adjective in court. defined in a nebulous way that can encompass whatever they are talking about. points want.
Curtis, who voted against impeachment but supported a bipartisan commission on the Jan.6 Capitol uprising, said he had not spoken to Trump about the climate caucus. The group includes strong Trump supporters, but all are “independent thinkers,” Curtis said in an interview.
Calling climate change a serious threat, he said: âWe have been off the table for too long as conservatives.
A total of 56 Republicans – a quarter of the GOP caucus – had joined the climate group on Wednesday, including Louisiana Representative Garret Graves, the top Republican on the House special committee on climate; Washington Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, Top Republican on Energy and Trade; and Arkansas Rep. Bruce Westerman, senior Republican on natural resources.
None of the top three GOP leaders in the House belong to the climate group, although House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy of California has pledged to form a GOP task force on energy and climate issues. .
Representative Kathy Castor of Florida, Democratic chair of the full House climate panel, said she hoped Republicans were serious about tackling climate change and not just trying to score political points.
âAs a dangerous heat wave threatens to break temperature records in the West, and families and farmers battle rising costs, it is clearer than ever that Congress must act now to expand the climate. ‘clean energy and energy efficiency at a lower cost,’ Castor said. mentionned. âThere is no more time for half measures. If my fellow Republicans are serious about doing anything, they have to start voting for real solutions.
David Doniger, one of the top climate strategists at the Natural Resources Defense Council, said his organization welcomes Republicans’ commitment to the climate. “The key question is: Will they support real limits on carbon pollution to cut emissions by half over the next 10 years and reach net zero (greenhouse gas emissions) by 2050?” he said.
Curtis and other caucus members cited private sector innovation and the development of technologies that capture and store carbon emissions as crucial to tackling climate change, and said the United States is the world leader. reduction of greenhouse gas emissions. Russia’s natural gas exports produce about 40% more carbon emissions than the United States’ gas exports, Graves said, citing a 2019 Energy Department study.
âWe didn’t do it with mandates, we didn’t do it by picking technological winners or losers. We did it because of American innovators, because of the same people who made the United States this incredible economy, âhe said.
Written by MATTHEW DALY, Associated Press.
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