The Republican congressman from Utah knows many in the crowd — some 2,500 strong, packed into Miami Beach’s New World Center in early March — remain apprehensive of his message, of his mere presence. But John Curtis is a politician, and at times even a showman, so he knows exactly what to do.
“Can we just enjoy this moment?” he asks the audience with a grin. “I’m a Republican, and I’m here to talk climate.” The audience erupts. It’s exactly the reception Curtis hoped to find at this year’s Aspen Ideas: Climate conference, where people from across the world have gathered to discuss how to save the planet. And, for at least a moment, they’re cheering for a conservative.
Curtis is having to answer skeptics on both sides while still keeping his balance. For the past several years, he’s sought to rebrand the “climate denial” party into something like the “climate realist” party, insisting that Republicans can actually do more for the planet than Democrats. It’s a risky gambit when the influence of the party’s climate skeptics remains very strong. Plus his party’s proposed climate solutions, critics argue, are just not bold enough at this critical moment. The New York Times has labeled this new Republican strategy “delay as the new denial,” contending that the party’s updated posture amounts to little more than a cosmetic change.
“All we were doing was telling people what we didn’t like,” he says. “We’re really good at saying, ‘We don’t like the Green New Deal. We don’t like this.’ But we really weren’t articulating what … we would do.” Curtis wasn’t ready to provide those answers yet, but his discomfort with the party’s mainstream stance caused him to start asking questions. He quickly discovered that even among conservative think tanks and oil executives, the verdict on climate change is absolutely clear: Of course the climate is changing. Of course man has influenced that change.
Armed with that knowledge, Curtis found that because the rest of his party was so lacking in their contributions to the climate change dialogue, a simple admission of what he learned was enough to earn him a seat at the table to discuss solutions. That realization first occurred during a Provo town hall in 2019, when a local newspaper reporter asked him if man was influencing climate change. He said yes. “Next day, front page, top fold: ‘Curtis admits to climate change,’” he remembers with a chuckle. But in the following weeks and months, he noticed a more serious difference in his perception among folks in the climate space. “I was now in the club of credibility,” he says. “And that’s when it dawned on me the mistake Republicans are making by dodging this question.”
As a result, two years ago he invited a cadre of Republican lawmakers to the Grand America Hotel in downtown Salt Lake City to talk about climate policy. He figured maybe half a dozen would attend, but 24 Republican lawmakers — about 10 percent of congressional Republicans at the time — showed up from all over the country. Some said they’d only go if the press didn’t find out, but regardless, the turnout assured Curtis there was real interest among Republicans in finally having some answers on climate change. He founded the Conservative Climate Caucus in 2021 to facilitate those conversations. Today, it’s one of the largest caucuses in the House at 73 members. “There’s this pent-up desire to be good on this subject,” Curtis says. “To have answers. To respond to our critics.”
Marc Morano is one of the country’s best-known climate skeptics. Author of five books, including “Green Fraud” and “The Politically Incorrect Guide to Climate Change,” he’s also published the website and newsletter ClimateDepot.com since 2009 and served as communications director for Inhofe, of snowball notoriety. He considers himself conservative, so he’s followed the Republican evolution on climate change with great interest — and, increasingly, with great disappointment. “My advice, when you’re confronted with the non-problem of global warming, is to have the courage to do nothing,” he says. “I just thought it was complete capitulation,” he adds, referring to the Conservative Climate Caucus’ founding. “I would be all for a Republican climate conference if it actually took the correct (path). But no, this was a capitulation conference, where the members sat around, accepted the premise and came up with basically a Green New Deal-lite, where they weren’t going to challenge it.”
Few match Morano’s ferocity on pushing back against climate change, but Curtis is still fighting an uphill battle against a whole lot of people in his party who, though they may not say so as vocally and clearly as Morano, feel more or less the same way.
Epoch Times: “The incoming House GOP needs to lay out a vibrant, pro-energy, America-first energy policy largely modeled after former President Trump’s energy policies,” said Morano, another veteran of Congressional staff roles…“Even though their proposals will be DOA [dead on arrival] in a Democrat Senate, the GOP needs to lay out its vision and policy priorities for the next presidential cycle in 2024,” said Marc Morano, the proprietor of the website Climate Depot, in a Dec. 21 email interview with The Epoch Times. …
Morano, of Climate Depot, told The Epoch Times that McConnell—and especially McCarthy—fall short “when it comes to reframing the climate narrative.” “The GOP needs to lead the way in labeling solar and wind as: ‘Not green. Not clean. And they serve as China’s empowerment policy for the West,’” he said. … Morano, of Climate Depot, had a creative suggestion. “Just like we name hurricanes, energy blackouts should be named—for anti-energy policies, politicians, and ideas that encourage and enable blackouts,” he said.
Utah senator Mitt Romney has been “looking at” carbon (dioxide) taxes as a GOP alternative to the Green New Deal. “I would very much like to see us reduce our carbon emissions globally, and we’ll see if this might help,” Romney said in 2019.
A small number of GOP members of the House are also seeking political cover on climate and pushing a sort of Green New Deal–lite version. Republican representative Matt Gaetz of Florida is supporting a different “Green Real Deal,” and GOP senator Lamar Alexander of Tennessee supported a “Manhattan Project” on climate and energy that would force Americans to move to more costly and unreliable alternative energy sources. South Carolina Republican senator Lindsey Graham, who has a long history of waffling on climate, has hinted that he is on board with “solutions” for climate change. “Climate change is real, the science is sound and the solutions are available,” Graham said.
GOP House minority leader Kevin McCarthy of California intro- duced a bill “to put the GOP on the map on climate” in order to appeal to the young voters that many polls show are more woke on climate change.
Climate skeptic Steve Milloy of JunkScience.com lamented that some in the GOP are in “appeasement” mode on climate. “There are many who would gladly try to appease climate alarmists by throwing around limited amounts of taxpayer dollars on various boondoggles to make it look like they take the matter seriously.”
Some GOP members of Congress are pushing carbon dioxide capture and storage and promoting “clean” energy, but as of 2020, the plans do not include targets to reduce emission. Geologist Viv Forbes calls it the “carbon capture con.” Forbes wrote, “The idea is to capture carbon dioxide from power stations and cement plants, separate it, compress it, pump it long distances and force it underground, hoping it will never escape.”
Forbes added, “Carbon-capture-and-storage tops the list of silly schemes to reduce man-made global warming….Regulating atmospheric carbon dioxide is best left to the oceans and plants— they have been doing it successfully for millennia. The only certain outcome from CCS is more expensive electricity and a waste of energy resources to do all the separation, compressing and pumping.”
Former president Trump and some GOP legislators even promoted the planting of one trillion trees by 2030 as part of their environmental plan. The New York Times explained that Trump is all in on tree planting. “The idea of planting one trillion trees had one enormous political advantage: It was practically sacrifice-free, no war on coal, no transition from fossil fuels, no energy conservation or investment in renewable sources of power that Mr. Trump loves to mock,” the New York Times reported in 2020. “Trump never uttered the phrase ‘climate change’ in his [tree planting] pledge. He described it instead as a plan ‘to protect the environment.’”
Chopping Down Tree Claims
Tree planting is not without controversy however.
“Settled Science?! Trees Both Cause & Solve ‘Global Warming’?!” read the headline at my Climate Depot website. “Plant or Not Plant Trees to Fight ‘Global Warming’?! It’s All So Confusing!”
There are many conflicting scientific studies on the climate impact of planting trees. Here is a small sampling of opposite claims about trees:
“Planting a Trillion Trees Could Be the ‘Most Effective Solution’ to Climate Change, Study Says” —CBS News, 201923
“Why Planting Some Trees Could Make Global Warming Worse” —Christian Science Monitor, 201624
“We Can’t Just Plant Billions of Trees to Stop Climate Change” —Discover magazine, 201926
“Best Way to Fight Climate Change? Plant a Trillion Trees” —AP, 201927
“Planting Trees Will Not Slow Global Warming” —Cli- mate News Network, 201928
“Climate Change: Planting New Forests ‘Can Do More Harm Than Good” —BBC, 202029And the tree-planting craze may face other problems as well. “Where are one trillion more trees going to be planted?” the Com- petitive Enterprise Institute’s Myron Ebell asked. “There are major areas of deforestation globally, but quite a bit of that land is now used for farming. Cities occupy other deforested areas. In this coun- try, the problem in our National Forests is far too many thickets of small trees.”
The biggest issue that Republicans who want to appear nice and green on climate have is the language that they use. They need to stop claiming climate is a “problem” or that climate change needs a “solution.” Words matter.
They can offer massive spending increases and push technology to attempt to reduce emissions, but they should not concede to the narrative that climate is a “problem.” Having worked in Washington for nearly thirty years, there are times when I frankly couldn’t care less how much-increased funding some in the GOP want to give to boondoggles like carbon capture. I understand that spending money in D.C. is bipartisan, and there are very few in Congress who actually care how much money the government spends.
The GOP climate “solutions” gang obviously thinks they need some kind of cover to avoid being labeled a climate “denier.” Many Republicans, conservatives, and libertarians loathe being seen as “evil deniers,” and they are prepared to avoid that label however they can. In town hall meetings and the social circles around the Washington establishment, they want to fit in, not to be seen as toxic climate deniers who are against “the science.” Their spouses or kids may be pressuring them not to be “deniers.”
If they appear “reasonable” on climate they’re going to be better liked.
My advice to those skittish Republicans is use phrases like “the way forward” or “regardless of your views on climate, our plan is environ- mentally friendly.” But they must avoid claiming that tree planting “solves” climate. If they continue to fall into that claptrap, they are engaging in the same unscientific nonsense the Left does when it claims UN treaties and the Green New Deal “solve” climate change. If the climate-woke Republicans continue to talk of “solving” the climate “problem” it makes them look like they are capitulating, and they appear like nothing more than pandering politicians.
The way forward is to promote free-market environmental policies that make environmental sense regardless of your view on climate change. If some GOP politicians need political cover on climate change, they will inevitably try to spend all the money they can on environmentally friendly legislation, but they should be persuaded to at least not fall into accepting the alarmist narrative.
Energy advocates need to be unapologetic about the moral case for cheap abundant fossil fuels. They need to follow Trump’s example of praising the benefits of U.S. energy dominance. They need to be relentless in pointing out the inane anti-energy views of Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez on energy.
End Green Fraud Excerpt.
Horowitz: Republicans must stop accepting the premise of the carbon/climate fascism agendaDaniel Horowitz: “Republicans [should] finally stop accepting the pseudo-science and moral premise of the left’s climate agenda. If COVID didn’t teach them the lesson about industry experts and scientific consensus being used to fundamentally transform our lives, create monopolies, and centralize power, then nothing will. COVID should serve as the Great Reset of the two-decade GOP mistake of accepting climate fascism.” … Carbon capture is the perfect political issue, because it allows Republicans to feign triangulation with the greenies while enriching an industry that could never naturally thrive on its own without government mandates, marketing, subsidies, and regulatory capture. … The worst thing we could be doing now is validating the left’s premise about climate and carbon and pushing expensive ideas built upon those fallacies.” …
“Just as with COVID, Republicans have largely accepted the false premise behind the global warming agenda, which is depleting our quality of life, crushing our freedoms, and making everything expensive. They merely object to the extreme to which Democrats are taking it. However, once you accept the premise, you lose the argument, which is why Republicans have joined in with climate regulations on appliances, green energy mandates and subsidies, and ethanol for years. Now, with so much of the scientific premise being exposed as a scam, just like the COVID vaccine and mask $cience, it’s time to reverse every “climate” policy rooted in the premise of carbon being a pollutant.”