Posted on April 4, 2021 by Rich Powell and Greg Walden
This op-ed was originally published by The Hill on April 4, 2021. Click here to read the entire piece.
President Biden’s energy agenda, like banning the Keystone pipeline and halting oil and gas activity on federal lands, have given Republicans a lot to oppose in these first 100 days.
However, some have wrongly interpreted that opposition to Republicans sticking their heads in the sand on climate. Headlines like that were perhaps fair a decade ago, but the opposite of where Republicans are today.
Looking back to 2009 — the infamous Cap and Trade legislation, led by former House Energy and Commerce Chairman Henry Waxman (D-Calif.) and now-Sen. Ed Markey (D-Mass.), was a climate change solution du jour for Democrats. Congressional Republicans hated the plan, stating it would devastate an already fragile economy and drive up energy prices. The party used opposition prominently in political campaigns, and some say the Republican wave of 2010 was partially due to a unified front against the Waxman-Markey legislation. But, that opposition also came with a price — some branded Republicans as climate deniers.
In the years since, Republicans have made tremendous strides on climate change. We have institutionalized big, bold goals anchored by clean energy breakthroughs, and even campaign on innovation as the best approach to solving the climate challenge.
The culmination of the years of effort can be summed up in one piece of legislation — the Energy Act of 2020. The clean energy innovation moonshots in this bill took five years to refine with technical and political realism.
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