HomeEnvironment & Climate NewsRepublicans Outline Their Own Climate Plan

Republicans Outline Their Own Climate Plan

Three Republican Senators from Western states have unveiled their own strategy for combating climate change.

The “American Energy, Jobs, and Climate Plan,” (AEJCP) proposed by Sens. Dan Sullivan (R-AK), Kevin Cramer (R-ND), and Cynthia Lummis (R-WY), aims to cut global carbon dioxide emissions by 40 percent below current levels by the year 2050.

The still-evolving plan eschews Democratic demands for ending the use of fossil fuels or imposing carbon taxes and penalties, instead focusing on maximizing the use of America’s bountiful natural gas reserves.

The plan also promotes nuclear energy and encourages the development of U.S. reserves of critical minerals for use in electric vehicle batteries and wind and solar technologies.

The GOP Climate Plan

In a press release, the Senators call for “an all-of-the-above energy strategy that preserves traditional energy sources like coal, oil, and natural gas while developing technologies, such as carbon capture, to reduce their emissions. The plan also promotes new energy sources, such as wind, solar, hydro, and nuclear to better secure our domestic energy supply and cut emissions while creating new, sustainable jobs.”

The AEJCP lays five key policy priorities to create jobs and exploit the United States mineral wealth, while reducing greenhouse gas emissions. The AEJCP calls for expanding “America’s current power and energy production base; supporting infrastructure, resources, investments, and incentives to build out the American renewable energy manufacturing and electricity sector; leveraging America’s energy and natural resource abundance and independence …; enacting permitting reform to make sure all energy, mineral, and infrastructure projects can be built in an efficient, timely, and certain manner; [and taking] advantage of America’s abundant energy and natural resources and rebuild the American supply chain to continue to gain comparative advantages against China, Russia, Iran and other foreign adversaries while lowering global greenhouse gas emissions.”

‘Leverage … Energy Resources’

Collectively, the Senators say focusing on these priorities will “leverage U.S. world-class energy resources, empower American workers, enhance U.S. economic and national security, and reduce global greenhouse gas emissions.”

“[I]t is essential, not only to the well-being of Wyoming, but to the energy security of the United States, to continue to produce and export Wyoming coal, uranium, oil, and natural gas all while investing in new technologies that can make them cleaner and more environmentally friendly,” Lummis said in the press release.

Other Republican Climate Initiatives

The AEJCP is not the first Republican foray into climate policy.

Earlier in 2021, Rep. John Curtis (R-UT) formed the Conservative Climate Caucus, (CCC) which counts 70 House Republicans among its membership.

The CCC insists “practical and exportable answers can be found in innovation embraced by the free market” and that “fossil fuels can and should be a major part of the global solution.”

In addition, five Republicans attended the UN climate summit (COP 26) in Glasgow and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) sponsored a three-day forum to highlight Republican environmental proposals and later appointed a 17-member “Energy, Climate, and Conservation Task Force.”

‘Really Stupid Politics’

Republican efforts to fight climate change are “really stupid ideas,” driving “really stupid politics,” says Steve Milloy, founder and publisher of JunkScience.com.

“Republicans should stick with the energy production: that is what the people care about,” Milloy said. “The energy system works fine as long as government is not meddling in it.

“The reason the world is in an energy crisis right now is because governments put too much emphasis on renewables,” Milloy said.

Past Republican efforts to push climate policies have not paid off electorally, says James Taylor, president of The Heartland Institute, which publishes Environment & Climate News.

“Before the 2018 midterm elections, 43 Republicans were part of the Congressional Climate Solutions Caucus (CSC), a bi-partisan coalition of federal legislators that supported climate change reduction policies such as increased taxes on and regulation of the coal, electricity, gas, and oil, industries,” Taylor said. “After the votes had been counted, more than half of Republican members of the CSC had lost their seats.

“The lesson Republicans should have taken away from those results, but evidently haven’t, is that Republicans attempting to appease the Left will never gain enough support from the Left to offset the depressing impact their betrayal of conservative values has upon the Republican voter base,” Taylor said.

‘Promote Energy Abundance’

The Republicans’ climate plans like the energy-rationing policies promoted by Biden-Harris and congressional Democrats, will do little to reduce global greenhouse gas emissions, but they will waste a less money, says Myron Ebell, director of Global Warming and International Environmental Policy at the Competitive Enterprise Institute.

“The alternative to energy-rationing policies is not to propose less rationing, but rather to promote energy abundance and affordability,” said Ebell. “Given the public’s negative reaction to increasing gasoline prices, I think conservatives would get a lot more support by going back to a pro-energy agenda.

The best climate policy is also the best energy policy, let markets do their work, says Ebell.

“CEI’s view is that energy production would be higher, energy prices would be lower, and innovation would happen more quickly if all energy mandates and subsidies were removed and regulatory obstacles were lowered,” Ebell said. “Technologically capable people plus investors reacting to the incentives provided by freer markets would quicken the pace of technological change while providing more energy.

“Republican and Democratic climate policies alike are based on the assumption that government policies that create energy shortages and much higher prices are the only way to spur innovation,” Ebell said.

Duggan Flanakin (dflanakin@gmail.com) writes from Austin, Texas.

Duggan Flanakin
Duggan Flanakin is the Director of Policy Research at the Committee For A Constructive Tomorrow. A former Senior Fellow with both the Texas and Arkansas Public Policy Foundations, Mr. Flanakin has a Master's in Public Policy from Regent University. During the years he spent reporting on environmental regulation in Texas and nationwide, Mr. Flanakin authored definitive works on the creation of the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality and on environmental education in Texas.

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