NATIONAL NEWS

In Break With Trump, House GOP Forms Group On Climate Change

Jun 23, 2021, 5:29 PM
Rep. John Curtis (R-UT), launched the new Conservative Climate Caucus. (KSL-TV)...
Rep. John Curtis (R-UT), launched the new Conservative Climate Caucus. (KSL-TV)
(KSL-TV)

WASHINGTON (AP) — Utah Rep. John Curtis says he’s tired of hearing that Republicans — his party colleagues — don’t care about climate change or slowing global warming.

A former Provo mayor who has served in Congress since 2017, Curtis says Republicans can push for serious climate solutions while holding fast to conservative values. To prove the point, he has formed the Conservative Climate Caucus, an all-GOP group aimed at educating fellow Republicans on climate change and advancing market-based policies to counter the Green New Deal and other Democratic proposals.

“Those who watch this caucus will see Republicans do care about this Earth — deeply,” Curtis said at a news conference Wednesday.

“We, too, want to leave this Earth better than we found it. We don’t need to kill the U.S. economy to reach our climate goals. In fact, it’s just the opposite. There is a way to lower emissions without sacrificing American jobs and principles. And I believe Republicans are the ones to lead on this.”

Leading Republicans, most notably former President Donald Trump, have mocked climate change as a hoax and downplayed the effects of warming temperatures caused by fossil fuel emissions. Trump withdrew the United States from the global Paris climate accord, and his Environmental Protection Agency refused to update a website highlighting evidence of climate change in the United States, including rising temperatures, increased ocean acidity, and more severe droughts and wildfires.

Rep. Peter Meijer of Michigan, another caucus member, said it’s long past time for Republicans to acknowledge the reality of climate change and put forward solutions that reduce carbon emissions while remaining “aligned with our business community.”

Climate Caucus members “are not going to be bringing snowballs onto the House floor,” Meijer said. “We’re bringing solutions. We’re not using this as a cheap talking point.”

Meijer was referring to a 2015 incident when Sen. Jim Inhofe, R-Okla., brought a snowball to the Senate floor to dispute global warming.

Meijer, a freshman who voted to impeach Trump in January, acknowledged that Republicans have an image problem on climate change, but he said Democrats must answer for excesses of their own.

“Far too often,” he said, “our colleagues on the other side of the aisle look at the environment as a cloak they can wrap around any policy, as just another adjective in front of a nebulously defined justice that can encompass whatever their talking points want.”

Curtis, who voted against impeachment but supported a bipartisan commission on the Jan. 6 Capitol insurrection, said he has not talked to Trump about the climate caucus. The group includes some strong Trump supporters, but all are “independent thinkers,” Curtis said in an interview.

Calling climate change a serious threat, he said, “We’ve been missing from the table for too long as conservatives.”

A total of 56 Republicans — a quarter of the GOP caucus — had joined the climate group as of Wednesday, including Louisiana Rep. Garret Graves, the top Republican on the House Select Committee on Climate; Washington Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, the top Republican on Energy and Commerce; and Arkansas Rep. Bruce Westerman, top Republican on Natural Resources.

None of the top three GOP leaders in the House belongs to the climate group, although House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy of California has pledged to form a GOP task force on energy and climate issues.

Rep. Kathy Castor of Florida, the Democratic chair of the full House climate panel, said she hopes Republicans are serious about addressing climate change and are not just trying to score political points.

“As a dangerous heatwave threatens to break all-time temperature records across the West, and as families and farmers struggle with rising costs, it is clearer than ever that Congress must act now to expand clean energy and cost-saving energy efficiency,” Castor said. “There is no more time for half measures. If my Republican colleagues really want to do something, they need to start voting in favor of real solutions.”

David Doniger, a top climate strategist at the Natural Resources Defense Council, said his organization welcomes Republican engagement on climate. “The key question is: Will they support actual limits on carbon pollution to cut emissions in half in the next 10 years and reach net-zero (greenhouse gas emissions) by 2050?” he said.

Curtis and other caucus members cited private-sector innovation and development of technologies that capture and store carbon emissions as crucial to address climate change and said the United States is the global leader in reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Natural gas exports from Russia produce about 40 percent more carbon emissions than U.S. gas exports, Graves said, citing a 2019 Energy Department study.

“We didn’t do it with mandates, we didn’t do it with picking technological winners or losers. We did it because of America’s innovators, because of the same people that allowed the United States to be this amazing economy,” he said.

KSL 5 TV Live

Top Stories

National News

FLINT, MI - JANUARY 13:   The Flint Water Plant tower is shown January 13, 2016 in Flint, Michigan....
ED WHITE, Associated Press

Judge tosses charges against 7 people in Flint water crisis

A judge has dismissed charges against seven people in the Flint water scandal, including two former state health officials blamed for deaths from Legionnaires’ disease.
12 hours ago
FILE: Loretta Lynn performs during the 16th Annual Americana Music Festival & Conference at Ascend ...
Kristin M. Hall, AP Entertainment Writer

Loretta Lynn, coal miner’s daughter and country queen, dies

Loretta Lynn, the Kentucky coal miner’s daughter who became a pillar of country music, has died. She was 90.
12 hours ago
Clark Aposhian, chairman of the Utah Shooting Sports Council, introduces himself as a member of a n...
Ashley Imlay, KSL.com & Aimee Cobabe, KSL NewsRadio

Supreme Court declines to hear Utah gun rights activist’s appeal to overturn bump stock ban

A prominent Utah gun rights activist has lost his bid to convince the U.S. Supreme Court to overturn the federal bump stock ban.
12 hours ago
...
Associated Press

CDC drops traveler health notices for individual countries

The CDC is doing away with notices about the COVID-19 risk of visiting specific countries.
2 days ago
WILMINGTON, NC - SEPTEMBER 23: Former President Donald Trump arrives at a Save America Rally at the...
Associated Press

Trump files $475 million defamation lawsuit against CNN

Former President Donald Trump has gone to court against CNN, a familiar target when he was president.
2 days ago
Search crews in Florida....
Mike Anderson

Rescue teams continue to find residents affected by Hurricane Ian

Search teams are helping oversee FEMA's efforts to search for those survivors, which is no easy task.
2 days ago

Sponsored Articles

Hand turning a thermostat knob to increase savings by decreasing energy consumption. Composite imag...
Lighting Design

5 Lighting Tips to Save Energy and Money in Your Home

Advances in lighting technology make it easier to use smart features to cut costs. Read for tips to save energy by using different lighting strategies in your home.
Portrait of smiling practitioner with multi-ethnic senior people...
Summit Vista

How retirement communities help with healthy aging

There are many benefits that retirement communities contribute to healthy aging. Learn more about how it can enhance your life, or the life of your loved ones.
Happy diverse college or university students are having fun on their graduation day...
BYU MBA at the Marriott School of Business

How to choose what MBA program is right for you: Ask these questions before you apply!

Wondering what MBA program is right for you? Take this quiz before you apply to see if it will help you meet your goals.
Cloud storage technology with 3d rendering drawer with files in cloud...
PC Laptops

How backing up your computer can help you relieve stress

Don't wait for something bad to happen before backing up your computer. Learn how to protect your data before disaster strikes.
young woman with stickers on laptop computer...
Les Olson

7 ways print marketing materials can boost your business

Custom print marketing materials are a great way to leave an impression on clients or customers. Read for a few ideas to spread the word about your product or company.
young woman throwing clothes to organize a walk in closet...
Lighting Design

How to organize your walk-in closet | 7 easy tips to streamline your storage today

Read our tips to learn how to organize your walk-in closet for more storage space. These seven easy tips can help you get the most out of your space.
In Break With Trump, House GOP Forms Group On Climate Change