The Green New Deal is expected to come to a vote on the Senate floor this week, but the GOP is working on its own “legislative response” to addressing climate change, according to a new report.
While openly criticizing the Green New Deal, Republicans have drawn their own criticism for not having any response or plan for climate change at all. A group of Republicans, including Senators Mitt Romney (Utah), Lamar Alexander (Tenn.) and Lindsey Graham (S.C.) are having private talks to come up with “market-based approaches to addressing climate change,” The Hill reports.
The group is reportedly “looking at establishing a federal program that would incentivize businesses to come up with new technologies to reduce carbon emissions or even find economical ways to remove carbon pollution from the atmosphere.” Romney told The Hill,
“There’s no question that we’re experiencing climate change and that humans are a significant contributor to that. In my view, the course forward is going to require innovation and technology breakthrough because nothing I’ve seen is going to reverse the warming trend other than that.”
Graham agrees, and he believes “spurring technological innovation to reduce carbon emissions or remove atmospheric carbon is better than penalizing companies for burning fossil fuels.” However, the article also quotes Graham as saying,
“The solutions I see haven’t even been developed yet. They have to be so practical that other countries would employ them.”
Alexander will soon speak on the Senate floor about climate change, though it’s unclear if he’ll do so before or after the Green New Deal vote. An aide of Alexander told The Hill a brief summary of his plans:
“He’s going to say that climate change is real but the solutions are not command-and-control, Soviet-style proposals but innovation, nuclear energy, research and development, and efficiency.”
If the Republican Party as a whole can actually move beyond climate denial that would be a start. Discussing solutions would be better than arguing about whether or not climate change is actually happening.
We need action now. Republicans appear to be setting this up as another big government vs. enterprise battle, but the last thing the country — or the world — needs is a long political fight over the “best way” to deal with climate change.
(By the way, there’s already an economist-supported market-based solution out there that could certainly help, while removing subsidies — carbon pricing. The IMF claims U.S. fossil fuel producers benefit from an implicit subsidy of $700 billion per year in terms of ignored costs of pollution they don’t have to pay. Making them pay those costs, through a carbon price, would make the market more free and more fair.)
Developing technologies that reduce carbon emissions or capture carbon can, and should be, a piece of the puzzle moving forward. But it’s not the answer in and of itself. And we’re working with an urgent timeline here. Strict, enforceable emissions reductions goals are a necessity. If this plan ends up as subsidies for companies to work on tech that may not be feasible on a large scale for years — if ever — that isn’t a solution. Solutions need teeth.
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