Inside Sources: Republicans ready to act on climate change, Rep. Curtis says
SALT LAKE CITY — The conversations surrounding the changing climate is primarily spearheaded by the political left. However, Utah Republican congressman John Curtis believes it’s time for the political left to engage in the climate change discussion.
Inside Sources host, Boyd Matheson said it’s time to rethink what we know about the right’s beliefs about climate change and stewardship of the environment.
Utah Republican Rep. John Curtis joined Boyd to detail how caring for the environment does in fact fit with conservative principles. He said a group of Republicans lawmakers in Washington, D.C., — the conservative climate caucus — are ready to tackle climate change.
Curtis on climate change
“Basically, we’re branded as conservatives for not caring. That could not be further from the truth,” Curtis said.
“Let’s talk about . . . why we should think again about what conservatives are doing about the environment and about stewardship,” Boyd said.
Curtis said Republican lawmakers in Congress want to go on the offensive on climate change.
“[Republicans] are very interested. So much so that several weeks ago we invited some of them out to Utah to have this discussion. We said if we get half a dozen here it will be a success. Twenty-four Republican lawmakers came to Utah to talk about climate,” Curtis said.
“What was the a-ha moment for your colleagues? What did they come away with? What did they learn being here in Utah?” Boyd asked.
On protecting the environment, Curtis said conservatives actually have some better ideas than Democrats do.
“I think the a-ha moment was they’re not alone. Sometimes as Republicans, you feel a little bit alone,” Curtis said. “And the second a-ha moment . . . is when they realize they do not need to abandon conservative principles to be strong on the environment. There are amazing conservative principles that we’re not talking about that are quite frankly better than what’s on the table from some of my Democratic colleagues. Most of their proposals kill jobs, kill the US economy [and] put China at an advantage.”
Green no deal
“A lot of conservatives wouldn’t talk about these kinds of things for fear that would lead them to have a primary challenger or to be attacked from the right flank of the party,” Boyd said.
“There’s another aspect of it, too, and that is I think Republicans and conservatives have felt like if they talk about it, that somehow endorses the Green New Deal, or validates these extreme positions,” Curtis said.
Curtis said the conversation about climate change and protecting the environment has to start with choosing the right unifying words.
“If I say at a town hall,’ Who’s all into climate change?’ The room will quickly divide and become divisive. But if I say, ‘Who thinks we need to be good stewards of this beautiful Earth?’ I get 100% agreement. I think that’s part of the problem is that we frequently start to question with a divisive approach, rather than something that we can all agree on.”
Export US green tech
“There are a lot of Democrats who are more in that center-left category of ‘Hey let’s do this in a way to talk about the two real critical issues, which is how do you do all of this without destroying the economy or crippling American businesses in the face of China and other competitors?” Boyd asked.
“One aspect is simply green technology developed here in the United States. It can be sold around the world,” Curtis said. “I absolutely believe that this is the next industrial-revolution opportunity waiting to happen with US innovation moving the world.
“Another area is this concept of innovation that we are just on the cusp of delivering: direct air capture carbon sequestration. . . Another one that really surprises people is that we can’t actually achieve our goals without fossil fuels.
Not all fossil fuels are bad
“I know that that’s just totally contrary to what people are being told. But you know, the US has reduced more greenhouse gas emissions during the last decade than the next 10 carbon-producing countries combined. How did we do it? He did it with natural gas.
“We could reduce more carbon in the world by exporting US natural gas to China, to India, to Russia, than we could by implementing the entire Green New Deal, times 10,” Curtis said.
“What’s the next thing we should be looking for or hoping for in order to move this crucial conversation forward in a way that can actually get some things done?” Boyd said.
“We’re forming a caucus back in Washington, D.C., called the conservative climate caucus. Watch for us to take the offensive on the climate dialogue and stop being defensive. That’s, I think, the most important thing for conservatives and Republicans now is to stop running from this and turn around and say wait a minute, we have ideas, they’re good ideas,” Curtis said.