Posted on December 6, 2022 by Mallory Shaevsky
The 27th Conference of Parties (COP27) was held in Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt, where delegates from across the world gathered to share ideas on how to tackle the global climate challenge, but this time with conservatives offering real solutions to reduce emissions globally by innovating here in the U.S.
The Conservative Climate Foundation (CCF) and a Congressional delegation (CODEL) of six Republican Members of Congress attended COP27 to engage in discussion around climate issues — and bring a conservative viewpoint supporting the economy and the environment. While in Sharm-El Sheikh, several of these Republican Members took the stage at the U.S. Pavilion to discuss “rational environmentalism,” and how conservatives fit into the global conversation on climate and clean energy. Specifically, they articulated a vision for policy solutions they intend to lead with, including increasing innovation and making clean energy more affordable.
The Members agreed that the climate is changing, global industrial activity is contributing, and there is a lot of work to be done in the clean energy space to address this challenge. But, most importantly, they stressed that we need to take action in a way that makes political and financial sense, allowing our economy and national security to thrive.
Rep. John Curtis (R-UT), chair of the 73-member Conservative Climate Caucus, emphasized the fact that Republicans deeply care about environmental issues and are eager to work towards bipartisan solutions, despite the fact that the world has been led to believe that they are ignorant in this area.
“My district has a unique component that I think all conservatives share,” said Rep. Curtis. “They care deeply about the land we inherit from our fathers and mothers. They care deeply about leaving it better than they found it. Yet ironically, we’ve been branded as not caring about the environment. Why? Because we push back on the litmus test and extremism of ideas that take the head off to fix the headache.”
The “rational environmentalism” approach discussed by the CODEL has been ignored by much of the media and their political opponents. Rep. Garret Graves (R-LA), who serves as the Ranking Member on the Select Committee on the Climate Crisis and leads the Energy, Climate and Conservation Task Force, stated the importance of making gradual changes and ensuring that the U.S. can move forward with clean energy in a common-sense fashion that includes a wide portfolio of energy sources.
“I think what’s most important is taking things into bite-sized pieces. Let’s talk about redesigning the grid to be able to handle distributed generation. Let’s talk about investment in resilience. Let’s talk about concepts for conservation and energy efficiency where you actually reduce the cost of energy consumption for residential and commercial consumers. Bringing down costs of building products in your country, therefore improving competitiveness. There are many, many things where, if we break it into bite-sized pieces, we’re all on the same page and we can find solutions that are actually cost-effective,” explained Rep. Graves.
Rep. Dan Crenshaw (R-TX) pivoted the conversation to discuss the national security advantages of investing in clean energy here in the United States. Maintaining American leadership over China is an important pillar of the conservative climate agenda.
“70% of solar panels are made in China, the vast majority of processing for various minerals is in China. China is not friendly to us; they’re the world’s biggest emitter,” said Rep. Crenshaw. “We should be honest about the carbon footprint of buying these things manufactured in China. Prosperity, energy security, and clean energy are the goals.”
Rep. Mariannette Miller-Meeks (R-IA) highlighted community benefits of investing in emissions reduction technology. As a Representative of a large agricultural district in Iowa, she noted the value of innovative agricultural practices for both the climate and her home state’s economy.
“When you look at what we’re doing in the agricultural space, it has a huge contribution, not only on conservation, but on energy production,” explained Rep. Miller-Meeks. “It’s really amazing what the agricultural sector is doing to reduce carbon emissions, replenish soil and water quality, and also providing liquid fuels as well as food for the globe.”
The bottom line: Conservatives not only have a seat at the table when it comes to climate and clean energy, they have ideas and a strategy ready to implement in the next Congress focused on reducing global emissions while keeping America’s economy strong.
CCF’s CODEL included:
- Rep. Dan Crenshaw (R-TX)
- Rep. John Curtis (R-UT)
- Rep. Garret Graves (R-LA)
- Rep. Mariannette Miller-Meeks (R-IA)
- Rep. Greg Murphy (R-NC)
- Rep. Tim Walberg (R-MI)
ClearPath is a founding member of CCF, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that aims to educate lawmakers and the public about reducing emissions with common-sense, economically feasible solutions based on conservative principles.