Climate Week En Review July 12, 2019
It's obviously Friday, which we're always thrilled about. But I know my republicEn.org teammates and I are watching the trajectory of Hurricane Barry, hoping for the best for Louisiana and other states in the storm's path. For me personally, Hurricane Katrina was when my work at the time—mostly focused on Army Corps of Engineer and large-scale conservation projects—shifted to include climate change action. Given we are in the middle of hurricane season, this 2017 Global Weirding explanation on the connection between climate change and hurricanes deserves a rewatch.
Carry big (pro-environment) stick: This week Senator Lindsey Graham joined a bicameral group of lawmakers to unveil the new Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Caucus. Flanked by Senators Steve Daines from Montana, Lisa Murkowski from Alaska, Cory Gardner from Colorado, Rob Portman from Ohio, and Richard Burr from North Carolina, Graham outlined the basis for the formation of the group. "We need to showcase that we care about conservation, we care about the environment, and we have innovative solutions," he said. "We believe in innovation when it comes to solving environmental problems."
"We have an opportunity to lead," Murkowski said, listing the many policy areas where there is opportunity for agreement in Congress such as the permanent authorization of the Land Water Conservation Fund and the numerous clean energy bills moving through the Senate Natural Resources Committee, which she chairs. "The reality [is] that we can and should be doing so much more."
"The next generation is going to receive an environment in better condition...than the one inherited when they were born," Gardner added in his remarks. "It's the spirit of the west."
Proud to join my colleagues today in unveiling the Roosevelt Conservation Caucus, to find common-sense solutions to protect our environment. pic.twitter.com/lLt6A3CVcT
— Rob Portman (@senrobportman) July 10, 2019
The House side was represented at the press conference by caucus co-chair Rep. Brian Mast of Florida and members Reps. Fred Upton from Michigan, Matt Gaetz from Florida, and Will Hurd from Texas. "We can maintain our beautiful parks and our environment and we can make sure that this country continues this renaissance when it comes to energy," said Hurd, whose district represents more wind and solar production than any congressional district in the U.S.
"As conservatives...there ought to be a time we want to conserve something," Gaetz—author of the Green Real Deal—said. "While our differences in this town matter, nothing matters more than the fact we all share the same planet."
During Q&A, Graham asserted that "we will win the solution debate...But the only way you're going to win that debate is to admit you've got a problem. Let's talk about climate change from the innovative and not the regulatory approach." (Amen to all that.)
You can watch the entire press conference below (remarks begin at the 7:00 mark):
"The American spirit of entrepreneurship and innovation has powered our nation's economic development, while advancing our capabilities to ensure wise stewardship of our natural resources," Rep. Elise Stefanik, who wasn't present at the unveiling, said in a statement. "As new challenges emerge, it is incumbent on our generation to think boldly and foster the next wave of solutions to protect and improve our environment." President Teddy Roosevelt, an avowed conservationist and a hero for many on the EcoRight, created the U.S. Forest Service in 1905 and worked to conserve 230 million acres during his presidency, according to the National Park Service.
Agree to disagree: According to Politico, Sen. Kevin Cramer still believes the U.S. should remain in the Paris Climate Accord, as he advocated prior to Trump's decision to pull us out of the international agreement. "I've always seen it as a broader forum for discussing innovation, American ideas and ideals that can be solutions," he said. "Half the time I feel like we're leaving ourselves out of an opportunity there."
BIG environmental record: "From day one, my administration has made it a top priority to make sure America has among the very cleanest air and cleanest water on the planet,"
President Donald Trump said in Monday's
Trump defends environmental record that critics call disastrous (Washington Post): Amid claims that his Administration is working "harder than many previous administrations" on environmental issues, Trump called for "the cleanest air, we want crystal clear water. And that's what we're doing...These are incredible goals that everyone in this country can rally behind, and they are rallying behind." But keeping it real, former Rep. Carlos Curbelo said "the president's rhetoric and the statements he's made on climate are, at best, disingenuous." The President failed to mention the words climate change in his speech.
Related: A Washington Post-ABC News poll released the day before Trump's speech found that 62 percent of Americans disapprove of Trump's handling of climate change. Just 29 percent of voters approve of the way Trump is handling climate change.
Donald Trump called climate change a hoax. Now he's awkwardly boasting about fighting it (TIME) While Trump didn't specifically mention climate change, he "bragged that the U.S. has exceeded other countries in nixing greenhouse gas emissions. 'Every single one of the signatories to the Paris climate accord lags behind America,' he said." This is significant in that "the claim appears to be an acknowledgement by the President that climate change is an actual problem that the United States should be addressing, something he has previously dismissed."
Shep Smith from Fox News responded best. (h/t to Senator Maggie Hassan's twitter feed, the only place I could find the clip.)
President Trump left out quite a few facts when talking about his environmental record today – but @ShepNewsTeam filled in the gaps on @FOXNews 👇 pic.twitter.com/kyOqwccQHS
— Sen. Maggie Hassan (@SenatorHassan) July 8, 2019
Why this speech now? Maybe Florida's leadership on the environment is setting the tone: How Florida's summer of slime turned Republicans into eco-warriors. "The steps the governor has offered could clean up the state's waterways, save its coasts, and provide a template for how a Republican executive can do right by the environment in a time when stewardship seems bitterly partisan," the article reads.
This week's must listen: In this 90-second interview by Yale Climate Connections, Alliance for Market Solutions executive director Alex Flint explains why a carbon tax should resonate with conservatives as a tool for reducing carbon emissions. "Wiser" than taxing income "would be to put a tax on those things we want to discourage like emissions of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere," he says.
National Clean Energy Week: It's not too soon to sign up to participate in this annual event (or at least stay in the know) sponsored by many of our allies in the trenches. After all, September will be here before with know it (and with it, sweater weather, but I digress...) If you want a sample of what kind of policies will be highlighted, these Citizens for Responsible Energy Solutions essays emphasize the importance of limited government and market-based competition in two different segments of the clean energy economy, electric vehicles and nuclear.
And that's it for me. The weekend will find me poolside cheering on the Dolphins as they attempt to finish the 2019 swim season undefeated. Stay safe, Gulf friends.