- The Washington Times - Wednesday, June 23, 2021

More than 40 House Republicans launched the Conservative Climate Caucus on Wednesday to offer “reasonable” climate change solutions in response to Democratic “extremism” on the topic.

“Those who watch this caucus will see that Republicans do care about this earth,” said Rep. John Curtis, a Utah Republican who spearheaded the group’s creation. “We too want to leave this earth better than we found it.”

Made up of a wide swath of Republicans, including senior members of the House Energy And Commerce Committee, the caucus hopes to take a leading role in crafting climate change policy on the right.

To do so, Mr. Curtis said the group will focus on educating its members about the conservative arguments in favor of combating climate change, while also devising solutions that do not come at the expense of jobs.

“We will offer multiple solutions that in many cases are far more impactful, while enhancing economic prosperity,” said Mr. Curtis.

For the past two decades, combating climate change has been an issue most closely associated with Democrats. This has partially been because left-leaning environmentalists were part of the party’s grassroots base.

While Republicans have not ignored the issue outright, they’ve opted for a more nuanced approach. For instance, Republicans have tended to favor curbing airborne pollution like that contributing to smog, while generally championing America’s energy resources — oil, coal and natural gas.

Since the early 2010s, though, Democrats have moved increasingly leftward on the issue, with some progressives even calling for the U.S. to end its reliance on fossil fuels.

“Moving to 100% clean energy will power job creation that is good for all creation,” said Sen. Edward J. Markey, a Massachusetts Democrat and the author of the Green New Deal. “We can and will meet this goal and now, more than ever, it is critical that we stand up and fight for our clean energy future.”

The move left by Democrats has created an opening for Republicans, according to Mr. Curtis.

“We don’t need to kill the U.S. economy to reach our climate goals,” said the Utah Republican. “We will show that results matter, we will offer solutions that truly move the needle and not just proposals that take the head off to fix the headache and don’t really reduce carbon emissions worldwide.

The caucus’ formation comes as President Biden and congressional Democrats have pledged to make tackling climate change a “whole of government agenda.”

To date, that strategy has focused on pushing individual cabinet departments and bureaucratic agencies to find ways to cut carbon emissions where possible.

• Haris Alic can be reached at halic@washingtontimes.com.

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