Last week, three Republicans who are poised to play a significant role in the upcoming debate on the “green new deal”—Representative Greg Walden (OR-02) ranking member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, Representative Fred Upton (MI-06) ranking member of the Energy Subcommittee of the Commerce Committee, and Representative John Shimkus (IL-15) ranking member of the Environment Subcommittee of the Commerce Committee penned an op-ed, “Republicans have better ideas to address climate change.”
As the title suggests, the op-ed accepted the premise that the science is settled regarding the causes and dangers of climate change necessitating government action. While properly denying the Democrat’s “green new deal,” the three propose a “nonservice, free-market” approach to address climate change. Key to their approach is government subsidies for research and promotion of “clean” and “renewable” energy, as well as focusing on carbon capture.
The focus on carbon capture could be a gateway to a carbon tax and/or a revised cap-and-tax system. Remember, back in 2009 many environmentalists tried to sell cap-and-tax as a “market-based” program, since it “allowed” private industries to trade carbon credits. Of course, this was all done under the control of a big government bureaucracy that attempted to manage the carbon emissions of private businesses.
Cap-and-tax, like subsidies for renewable or clean energy, could prove profitable for some business interests. Large agricultural interests could benefit from increased subsidies for alternative fuels or other “incentives” for adopting green energy. Which brings us to Representative Frank Lucas (OK-03).
Representative Lucas is Ranking Member on the Science Committee and has declared that he does not want to “challenge the consensus” on climate change. Lucas is also former chair of the House Agricultural Committee, where he oversaw legislation increasing federal subsidies to big business and non-farms. Given Lucas’s history, it would be logical for him to not challenge a contention that could enrich big agriculture.
A further troubling sign is that the Republican witnesses at both the Energy and Commerce and Science Committee hearings on climate change were proponents of carbon taxes and cap-and-tax like schemes.
Campaign for Liberty will continue to fight any attempts to push new taxes and regulations on the American people for any reason. We will not accept a “lesser” green new deal or a “modified” cap-and-tax scheme peddled by the corporatist wing of the GOP. Instead, we will push Congress to recognize that free-markets and private property are the best way to protect the environment.