By House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy
We are made to believe by Democrats and the mainstream media that nothing less than a full-scale government takeover of our economy and way of life is required to solve the problems associated with climate change and carbon emissions. This narrative also assures that Republicans do not care nor effectively act on this issue.
I join my Republican colleagues in the House, as well the many, many right-leaning and conservative environmental groups around the United States, and the Americans who support us both, in feeling compelled to not only dispel this false narrative but do even more. Yes, to prove that one party does not hold a monopoly on these conversations, but more importantly because it’s the right thing to do for our country.
For decades, the conservative debate has been centered on what not to do: increase taxes, regulations, and mandates. That’s a good foundation. But to solve the problem we must have solutions to reduce emissions AND increase the robust economic opportunity the energy industry has provided. House Republicans have those solutions.
The United States of America has been leading an energy and economic renaissance for the past several years:
- We reduced CO2 emissions by 42 million tons between 2016 and 2017, which was the largest cut of any nation.
- We increased oil production from under 6 million barrels a day in 2010 to almost 13 million today, majorly reducing our dependence on foreign oil and keeping gas prices affordable at home.
- We have grown the number of good American jobs in the energy sector by the hundreds of thousands over the past few years.
And as we rebuild our country from the COVID-19 shutdowns and economic hardship, we can do so, in part, on this very foundation.
House Republicans have a vision for a cleaner, safer, and healthier environment illustrated within three policy verticals that will reignite a technology and jobs revival throughout the country:
- capturing and utilizing carbon
- developing and exporting clean energy
- encouraging conservation
Legislatively, this plan builds on innovations and technologies that have already proven successful. We have introduced a number of bills aimed at capturing, utilizing, and storing carbon, all based on the understanding that natural gas and other fossil energy sources are not the problem, emissions are. So instead of destroying entire industries and the jobs they provide, we should invest in technologies that reduce or eliminate these emissions, all the while growing American jobs. That’s what these bills do.
Some examples: minimize regulatory burdens that can slow the commercial deployment of new carbon capture technologies, create a carbon utilization research hub and a program for the research, development, and demonstration of carbon capture technologies for natural gas power plants, permanently extend and enhance the Section 45Q tax credit for carbon use and sequestration, and lastly, commit to a global effort of planting one trillion trees while also investing in reforestation and making proper forest management reforms.
We are in the midst of introducing over a dozen more bills to fortify the advanced nuclear, natural gas, and hydropower industries, as well as develop innovative clean energy technologies, such as new battery technology. Through nuclear export reform, licensing and pipeline permitting reform and streamlining, critical mineral innovation and discovery, and significant investments in research and development programs for advanced nuclear, Republicans will make American energy even more clean, affordable, and exportable.
While the U.S. continues to lead in emissions reductions and in discovering clean energy technologies, other countries need to similarly take responsibility. We can only make a meaningful impact if countries around the world are also advancing toward a cleaner environment.
We are working on this global component, too. The U.S. currently spearheads a coordinated effort to help developing countries create proper waste management systems. Republicans are developing legislation that will not only prioritize these partnerships but will leverage further U.S. aid should we find that these countries are using American taxpayer dollars irresponsibly. We’re also working to develop legislation to invest in advanced recycling technologies and incorporate technology to improve conservation in agriculture. By developing and implementing new technologies and approaches at home, we can lead the world in conserving our energy, land, and water.
We, along with organizations like C3 Solutions, understand that simply opposing unrealistic proposals like the Green New Deal, which would wreak irreparable damage on our economy while doing nothing to reduce global emissions, is not enough. We similarly understand that the fanaticism and hysterics surrounding these debates were always distracting, but the confusion is becoming harmful. As I watch the devastating wildfires rip through my home state of California, rarely does anyone address a known solution: proper forest management. We and other like-minded organizations, politicians, and everyday Americans will be the ones to make a real, lasting difference on an issue that affects all our communities and futures.
The views and opinions expressed are those of the author’s and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of C3.