WASHINGTON, DC – Energy and Commerce Committee Republican Leader Greg Walden (R-OR), Subcommittee on Environment and Climate Change Republican Leader John Shimkus (R-IL), and Subcommittee on Energy Republican Leader Fred Upton (R-MI) penned an op-ed highlighting the need to find commonsense, bipartisan solutions to address current and future climate risks.
By Reps. Greg Walden, John Shimkus, and Fred Upton
Climate change is real, and as Republican Leaders of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, we are focused on solutions. A serious, solutions-oriented discussion about how to address this challenge, while protecting the interests of the American people, our communities, and our country’s economic well-being is fundamental to getting this right.
America’s approach for tackling climate change should be built upon the principles of innovation, conservation, and adaptation. Republicans have long championed realistic, innovative, and free-market strategies to promote a cleaner environment and to reduce emissions. The results are clear: The United States is leading the world in reducing greenhouse gas emissions thanks to vibrant energy sector competition and innovation. In 2017, U.S. carbon emissions were the lowest they’ve been since 1992. Despite a slight increase in emissions in 2018, mostly due to the positive development of increased American manufacturing, analysts project U.S. emissions will remain flat in upcoming years at roughly 13 percent lower than 2005 levels.
We must address climate change in ways that focus on American prosperity and technological capabilities while maintaining America’s leadership in clean and renewable energy innovation. By doubling down on innovation, we can supply the world with new tools to combat emissions.
We should continue to encourage innovation and renewable energy development. We should promote carbon capture and utilization, renewable hydropower, and safe nuclear power, which is emissions-free. We should also look to remove barriers to energy storage and commercial batteries to help make renewable sources more viable and our electricity grid more resilient. And we must encourage more research and business investments in new clean energy technologies. These are bipartisan solutions we must seize on to deliver real results for the American people.
Meanwhile, many Democrats are rallying around the recently introduced Green New Deal. This agenda calls for a 10-year plan to move U.S. power generation to 100 percent zero-emission energy sources. But even though this proposal is being billed as a solution to climate change, it also includes numerous unrelated, prohibitively expensive policy goals such as government-run health care and guaranteed employment.
While a full analysis of the Green New Deal has not been completed, the sheer scale and cost to implement such a proposal could have potentially devastating consequences on our national debt and on our economy. One initial estimate calculated that if the U.S. were to transition to 100 percent renewable electricity production—assuming it is even possible—it would require at least $5.7 trillion in expenditures. A bill ultimately picked up by the American taxpayers. Think what that might mean for heating bills in the winter or commuting costs? Or how it could push American jobs overseas to countries that have lax environmental standards.
Click here to read the full op-ed online.