Last week, Congressional Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy and Rep. Garret Graves (LA), who heads the House GOP task force on energy, climate, and conservation, released a six-part climate agenda developed to signal the direction that the House of Representatives would pursue should Republicans take control of the Congress in 2023.
The six pillars identified by the plan are:
- Unlock American Resources
- Let America Build
- American Innovation
- Beat China and Russia
- Conservation with a Purpose
- Build Resilient Communities
How the GOP would address these policy areas will be presented in greater detail in the coming months, but the initial signs from the announcement and the mere issuance of a climate plan at all – show that Conservative leadership is ready to embrace the need for a public climate discussion and to offer meaningful policy solutions that can address the climate issue while maintaining conservative principles.
“Looking at the structure of the solutions a GOP House may bring to the table to address climate and energy issues is very encouraging,” says Landon Stevens, Director of Policy and Advocacy for the Conservative Energy Network (CEN). “Our polling from around the country has consistently shown that all Americans expect action on clean energy and want to see solutions driven by innovation. They expect a cleaner economy that uses competition and customer choice to keep prices down while keeping the lights on and America secure.”
The plan laid out last week seems to focus on many of these same priorities. “Conservatives have real solutions to solve the climate challenge and make energy more affordable,” said ClearPath Action CEO Rich Powell. “Here’s a comprehensive plan that works –- it reduces carbon emissions, creates jobs, eliminates dependence on foreign adversaries resources, and will be well-received in every single Congressional district in America according to our research.”1
The fact is, the six pillars highlighted above are key to producing meaningful reductions in emissions at home, and the export of our innovation around the world will be essential to tackling global climate issues.
“While few countries can rival the U.S. when it comes to an abundance of mineral resources, we remain subjected to a third-world permitting system that discourages investment and the downstream industries, related jobs, innovation and technology that depend on a secure and reliable mineral supply chain,” says the National Mining association. “Our dependence on mineral imports has doubled over the past 20 years. Today, less than half of the mineral needs of U.S. manufacturing are met from domestically mined minerals. Long permitting delays drive mineral exploration investments to other counties.”
This expansion of critical mining in the U.S. should be paired with increased research and development spending for a host of promising clean technologies including wind, solar, battery storage, hydropower, geothermal, advanced nuclear, and hydrogen among others. The key is that the government should be facilitating open innovation and market driven solutions as opposed to ‘picking winners and losers.’
“For far too long, climate policy has been synonymous with mandates, regulations and subsidies,” said Drew Bond, president of C3 Solutions, a right-leaning climate group. “In light of skyrocketing gas prices and runaway inflation, Americans want solutions that will make environmental progress without hitting their pocketbooks.”
While some critics of the plan argue that the strategy is too light on mandated structure and hard targets, we argue that may be the best path forward. An overly prescriptive top-down approach will never be able to capture the unexpected breakthroughs and innovation that come from competition and freely functioning markets. A rush to exterminate fossil fuels without adequate clean resources as replacements at the expense of the economy as a whole will only set us back in our overall climate efforts.
Climate policy should not be doomed by heated political rhetoric. Americans want action, private companies want action, and now voices on both sides of the aisle want action.
“Americans don’t need leaders pointing fingers,” Graves said. “We need leadership that can provide a coherent energy strategy that lowers costs and provides cleaner, more secure energy to Americans and our allies around the world.”
We hope that the release of this plan will draw more conservatives to the table and lead to meaningful bipartisan action on climate and clean energy policy in the coming years.