Let the Democrats peddle the Green New Deal. Republicans say it’s better to innovate than regulate.
The House Energy and Commerce Committee Republicans held an “Innovation Showcase” Monday to champion products and technologies that reduce greenhouse gas emissions without policies that would “choke down the economy,” said ranking member Rep. Greg Walden.
“They can have their Green New Deal,” said the Oregon Republican, who plans to retire at the end of the congressional session. “We’re not into the high taxation, aggressive top-down regulation that frankly we think leads to economic stagnation.”
About 20 local companies and universities from across the country participated in the event, held at the Rayburn House Office Building Foyer, promoting advances and technologies such as carbon sequestration, renewable natural gas, multi-emissions filtration systems and modular light-water reactor nuclear power.
At one point, Mr. Walden held up a block of fire-resistant cross-laminated wood from the Oregon-based company D.R. Johnson. The product is billed as strong enough to use in high-rise construction, thus eliminating emissions from the making of steel.
“As you look around these companies that are trying to turn waste emissions and products into new energy sources, or better battery storage, or other ways to conserve our new energy technology, it’s the path to the future,” Mr. Walden said. “Americans should lead on this. We always have, and this is an opportunity to lead going forward.”
Weary of being ripped by Democrats as climate deniers, Republicans have increasingly championed innovation and an all-of-the-above energy approach to counter demands for “climate emergency” measures such as the Green New Deal resolution, which would all but eradicate fossil fuel energy use.
Last month, the newly formed bipartisan Senate Climate Solutions Caucus met with CEOs to discuss reducing greenhouse-gas emissions using “market-based approaches that are durable, equitable, and supportive of the American economy.”
So far the panel has eight members: Four Republicans, three Democrats and an independent, Sen. Angus King of Maine.
“The United States has long been a leader in innovation,” Sen. Lindsey Graham, South Carolina Republican, said in a written statement. “Addressing climate change is an opportunity to put our knowledge and can-do spirit to work to protect the environment for our benefit today and for future generations.”
WATCH @ksoltisanderson interview E&C GOP Leader @repgregwalden on the Energy & Commerce Committee Republicans Facebook page during the Energy & Environment Innovation Showcase. #InnovatEandChttps://t.co/TAk5cKxrXh pic.twitter.com/qE8mypfh1x
— Energy & Commerce GOP (@HouseCommerce)
— U.S. Rep. Bob Latta (@boblatta)
Republicans point out that U.S. innovation has already reaped benefits. The nation leads the world in reducing carbon-dioxide emissions, which dropped by 12.4% from 2005-17, largely by replacing natural gas with coal in electricity generation, a change made possible by hydraulic fracturing, or fracking.
Mr. Walden said possible points of cooperation with Democrats include legislation to increase federal research spending and reduce plastics in the ocean, nearly all of which comes from 10 rivers in Asia and Africa, by exerting its foreign-policy influence.
He credited Republican-led reforms in regulation and the tax code for helping speed innovation.
“We’ve done a lot over the years,” said Mr. Walden. “We’ve never wrapped a bow around it and called it climate, but we believe in innovation, we believe in conservation, we believe in adaptation, and we wanted to have our own voice in this matter.”
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