“I see no scenario where the climate does not continue to gain visibility, importance and urgency.”

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Graves and Curtis stress need to provide conservative solutions to climate change

WASHINGTON, DC – Republicans have a strong environmental heritage. Abraham Lincoln set aside land for Yosemite. Theodore Roosevelt created five national parks, 150 national forests and 55 wildlife refuges. Richard Nixon enacted the Endangered Species Act and created the EPA. In recent years, however, the GOP has been blatantly silent on what has become one of the most pressing challenges of our time – climate change.

Two Republican members of the US House of Representatives want to change that. The members are Garret Graves (LA-6) and John Curtis (UT-3). Graves is a ranking member of the House Select Climate Committee, while Curtis is chairman of the Conservative climate caucus. The two appeared before a Ripon Society breakfast last Thursday to discuss not only that climate change is real, but also the need to develop conservative solutions that help the environment without harming the economy.

“In Washington, you don’t see problems evolving quickly very often,” Graves said, starting the discussion. “But this is the one that really changed. Years ago, I remember working on this and it was one of those issues that you raised as well as other very controversial topics … things that are just immediately polarizing and have very little ground for it. ‘agreement. But this is not so much the case in recent years. We have seen a change.

“And in this case, I think we’re moving in a direction that makes sense – going in the direction of emission reductions and clean energy. It makes sense. But science also indicates that this is a global problem. And the reality is that for the past 17 years, the United States has been the world leader in reducing emissions. “

“So when we talk to Republicans, we don’t come in and say, ‘Hey, we’re asking you to do a 180.’ Instead, we’re asking them to take a hard look at how the United States has worked. to reduce emissions and improve conservation and efficiency while doing it in a way that doesn’t disrupt the economy… There’s a great conservative message here.

Curtis agreed.

“During my first four years here in Washington,” the Utah Republican recounted, “I realized I didn’t have to leave my conservative credentials at the door to play a significant role in improving of our climate. ”

“With a lot of help, from Garret and others, we launched an effort to bring Republicans together to talk about the climate and get a foot on the climate beneath us. And we call it the Conservative Climate Caucus… Now remember, the very first tenant of the Caucus is the Changing Climate. And decades of industrial revolution have had an impact on it. The man had an impact on this.

“In a few days, [the Caucus] had 70 members with almost no recruiting from us. Seventy Republican members who stood up and said, “I’m tired of being labeled as not caring about this land. I’m sick of being accused of denying science. And that’s what happened because we don’t like this conversation. We have been stigmatized as indifferent. We have been accused of denying science.

According to Curtis, this went against the history of the GOP.

“Republicans are the traditional protectors of this land,” he said. “If I mention the EPA, it freaks out a lot of my fellow Republicans. But it was Richard Nixon who created the EPA, right? Republicans have their name on it all. And yet we have let ourselves be accused of not caring, which is simply not true. So today the Conservative climate caucus has 70 members – one-third of all Republicans in the House – and our mission is to educate Republicans. ”

After their opening remarks, Graves and Curtis answered a number of questions, including one on next year’s midterm elections and whether climate change will play a role in the campaign.

“I’m in a very, very conservative neighborhood,” Curtis said. “It’s R + 26. And while the climate probably won’t determine the outcome of my election today, I believe it will be in several cycles. I think there are districts across the country that are much more competitive, and I wouldn’t want to be a Republican in one of those tough districts without my climatic feet under me, without a message, and without a plan. ”

Graves nodded.

“In solid ‘red’ districts, is this going to be a touching problem?” Asked the Louisiana lawmaker. “I don’t know if this is the case. In these independent districts at the national level? It’s going to be a problem, and it’s particularly a problem in areas where you have younger voters. ”

“Depending on demographics and constituencies, this is a question that may not be worth 10 points on election day. But it may be worth just enough to change the outcome of a race… I see no scenario where the climate does not continue to gain visibility, importance and urgency.

To see Graves and Curtis’ remarks ahead of the Ripon Society breakfast discussion on Thursday morning, please click on the link below:

The Ripon Society is a public policy organization founded in 1962 and takes its name from the city where the Republican Party was born in 1854 – Ripon, Wisconsin. One of the main goals of the Ripon Society is to promote the ideas and principles that made America great and contributed to the success of the GOP. These ideas include keeping our nation secure, keeping taxes low, and a smaller, smarter, more accountable federal government.

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