WASHINGTON – Addressing climate change and tamping carbon emissions shouldn't be, and isn't, a goal merely on the to-do list of Democrats across the country, but an effort that will require U.S. ingenuity, commonsense solutions and a unified front that brings on industry's collaboration.
That message, delivered Wednesday by Rep. John Curtis, R-Utah, and a member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, came in his remarks delivered in announcing the launch of a new caucus of more than 50 members from every congressional committee with jurisdiction over climate policy and various ranking members.
"Today, I am proud to launch the Conservative Climate Caucus with many of my Republican colleagues. Republicans have conservative solutions to lower emissions while enhancing economic prosperity. We do care about climate — and we already have solutions and plan to find more," he said.
He added that the goal of the Conservative Climate Caucus is to bring members of the Republican Party together to educate each other on climate policies that will make progress on reducing emissions through "American innovation" and resources.
"Proposals to reduce emissions and be good stewards of the Earth do not have to hurt the American economy — in fact they do the opposite. There is a way to lower global emissions without sacrificing American jobs and principles — and I believe Republicans are the ones that can and should be leading the charge."
Curtis, in fact, has been a dominant GOP voice in Utah on the issue of climate change.
In October of last year, he signaled his support for the first of its kind Utah Climate and Clean Air Pact, a bipartisan effort to bring all sides together to arrive at solutions to address such issues as wildfires, flood, rangeland degradation and carbon emissions.
He later said launching such a caucus is something that has been a goal of his for some time.
"I've been looking forward to launching the Conservative Climate Caucus for months and have been thrilled to see the reception," he said. "Republicans need to advocate for conservative climate solutions that align with Republican principles, an agenda that will make real progress through American innovation — ultimately enhancing American prosperity."
Rep. Blake Moore, R-Utah, whose district includes the oil and gas rich Uinta Basin, said he has visited sites of industrial production of natural gas and oil and came away impressed.
"We can't continue to vilify industry," he said, adding that innovation is driving down emissions as industries look to become more efficient.
He added that he believes the caucus is a good thing because it will help get the message out about emission-cutting efforts that have been underway for some time.
"It is a great thing to come together to share our message."
Rep. Kelly Armstrong, R-N.D., emphasized that Democrats aren't the only members of Congress who put priority on the environment.
"We need to do a better job at telling our story," he said. "We want clean air, we want clean water and we want to continue to do it well. We believe in energy security and we believe in a clean environment. If you live in North Dakota and don't like the outdoors, you are probably in the wrong state."
Speakers at the event emphasized the goal of cutting emissions does not have to come at the expense of gutting the U.S. economy.
Heather Reams, executive director of Citizens for Responsible Energy Solutions, said the country should be "exporting American innovation not American jobs ... 85% of all greenhouse gas emissions come from outside the United States."