Recently, Rep. John Curtis, R-Utah, announced the formation of the Conservative Climate Caucus with the purpose of educating Conservatives on climate policies that fall in line with conservative values. Here’s what you need to know.
The caucus acknowledges climate change as a threat but hesitates to call it a crisis
The formation of the caucus marks a transition in the ideals of the Republican Party. Former President Donald Trump’s administration overturned several climate policies, most notably by leaving the Paris Agreement in 2020.
Curtis rejects the label that Republicans do not care about the climate. He says the caucus will give Conservatives a chance to voice their opinions and ideas relating to climate change.
“We’ve done a wonderful job of telling people what we don’t like and we actually have quite a few good ideas, and we want a seat at the table,” he told Politico.
The caucus believes fossil fuels are part of the solution
Many climate groups on the left strive to eliminate fossil fuels as part of the transition to renewable alternatives. The Conservative Climate Caucus takes a different stance.
“With innovative technologies, fossil fuels can and should be a major part of the global solution. Reducing emissions is the goal, not reducing energy choices,” the caucus said in a statement.
The caucus says a transition away from fossil fuels will hurt the economy, but studies have shown clean energy can displace fossil fuels and create millions of jobs.
Members believe in free-market innovation
The caucus seeks solutions without government regulation. These solutions rely on innovation from private companies.
Rep. Nancy Mace, R-S.C., another member of the caucus, explained her view to Fox News.
“Today, we saw a private citizen go to space,” she said. “And if we allow businesses to be innovative, we can do the same thing, find the same kind of solutions for the environment as well.”
Opponents of free-market environmentalism say that the free market will not favor environmental innovations unless the government incentivizes it, pointing out instances of the Environmental Protection Agency needing to introduce industry regulations to get companies on board with protecting the environment.
The caucus singles out China as the greatest global emissions threat
“Climate change is a global issue, and China is the greatest immediate obstacle to reducing world emissions,” the caucus’s statement reads.
A study updated in 2020 by the Union of Concerned Scientists shows China as the largest source of carbon dioxide emissions and the U.S. as the second largest.
Many Democrats, including the Biden Administration, believe the U.S. must lead the global effort to net-zero emissions and that the U.S. must work toward its emissions goals to set an example for the rest of the world.