House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy announced the creation of a climate change task force on Tuesday tasked with devising a policy agenda to address global warming should Republicans capture the House in the 2022 midterm elections.
Rep. Garret Graves of Louisiana will chair the panel, which is one of seven task forces McCarthy announced focused on different GOP policy priorities.
Graves, who represents an oil and gas district experiencing sea level rise, is a top Republican spokesman on the topic of climate change. He is currently the ranking GOP member of the Democratic-led Select Committee on the Climate Crisis.
The new "energy, climate, and conservation task force" has 15 members with representatives from oil and gas producing districts, such as Rep. Dan Crenshaw of Texas, along with districts vulnerable to sea level rise, such as Rep. Brian Mast of Florida.
It also includes Rep. David McKinley of West Virginia, who recently introduced bipartisan climate change legislation, and Rep. John Curtis of Utah, the leader of a conservative climate caucus launched this month.
McCarthy’s decision to launch a climate task force is part of his emphasis on overhauling the party's climate change platform and messaging to compete with Democrats and the Biden administration.
The California Republican is also responding to polls over the last few years that have shown the party is vulnerable among young and suburban voters who are concerned about the environment and climate change.
Last year, McCarthy and some of his top lieutenants, including Graves, introduced an agenda to address climate change that was focused on promoting innovation in clean energy technologies, including carbon capture for fossil fuel plants and smaller nuclear reactors.
In April, McCarthy organized a three-day House Republican forum to present legislative ideas on addressing climate change and counter a climate summit event that President Joe Biden hosted on Earth Day with top greenhouse gas-emitting countries.
McCarthy's office, in a press release announcing the new task force, said it intends to "build on this commitment, and will focus on legislation that promotes innovation, invests in clean energy infrastructure, and implements initiatives in natural solutions and conservation."
Democrats say the Republican approach of promoting clean energy in private sector innovation falls short of what’s needed to avoid the worst consequences of climate change. Biden’s proposed American Jobs Plan, by contrast, contains a clean electricity standard requiring utilities to generate 100% zero-carbon power by 2035, along with extended renewable energy tax subsidies and consumer rebates to buy electric vehicles.
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Original Author: Josh Siegel