Conservatives can learn from Utah’s climate example  

For too long, Democrats have owned the climate change debate. That tide is turning. Last week, I attended the 2nd Annual Conservative Climate Summit, hosted by Rep. John Curtis (R-Utah) right here in Utah. The Summit highlighted the balance Utahns take between environmental protection and economic prosperity.  

Utah truly embraces an all-of-the-above energy approach. While the state continues to produce oil and natural gas, new technologies are popping up all over, from renewable sources like wind and solar to geothermal and carbon capture facilities. These technologies will help the United States lower our carbon footprint while invigorating Utah’s local communities. As president of Citizens for Responsible Energy Solutions (CRES), a right-of-center advocacy organization that works with lawmakers in D.C. to advance clean energy and climate-smart policies, I can truly say Utah serves as a model for the United States.  

Energy production and climate change are inextricably tied: That is why this is the perfect location for the Summit. Utahns understand that protecting our environment goes hand-in-hand with strengthening our economy and our standing as a global leader.   

The United States has reduced its carbon emissions by half in the last two decades, and that is something we should all be proud of. The U.S. could eliminate our emissions all together, but global emissions would still be on the rise due to bad actors like the Chinese Communist Party who are permitting new coal plants every month and relying heavily on slave and child labor to manufacture energy equipment. That is unacceptable.  

Rather than relying on the far left’s “rush-to-green” agenda or Green New Deal policies, Republicans in Congress are advocating for permitting reform to unlock and responsibly develop our natural resources while reducing our reliance on foreign countries. They are calling for commonsense legislation that puts the management of federal lands and waters into the hands of state and local managers who can best conserve them. They are pursuing an agenda of American strength and clean energy innovation that will benefit us here at home and our allies abroad.  

Since Republicans have taken the majority in the U.S. House, they have made it clear they are dedicated to enhancing the production of reliable, affordable, and clean American energy. This is a win for the U.S. and for the climate. In fact, liquified natural gas (LNG) produced in the United States has lifecycle carbon emissions 41 percent less than Russia, and China’s economy – which we are heavily reliant on for clean energy technologies – is more than three times more carbon intensive than ours. These two facts alone signal that we should be producing more here at home if we are serious about lowering global emissions.  

Wrapping up its second year, the Conservative Climate Summit will continue to be an opportunity to discuss Republican solutions and the growing support for conservative policies that mitigate climate change and support the U.S. economy.    

From representatives of the Utah Farm Bureau, Utah Mining Association, Dominion Energy, and Trout Unlimited to researchers and faculty at Utah State and the University of Utah, speakers at the Summit shared how conservation of our lands, domestic energy production, and continued energy innovation are key to our clean energy future – and how these are all concepts Republicans can and should get behind.  

Wyoming Governor Mark Gordon (R-Wyo.), House Natural Resources Chairman Bruce Westerman (R-Ark.), and Conservative Climate Caucus Vice Chair Mariannette Miller-Meeks (R-Iowa) are just a few of the national names who joined the conversation last week to learn a thing or two from Utah’s example.  

What attendees took away is this: Climate change is happening, and conservatives have solutions. The answer lies in empowering the free market and providing certainty to American businesses, so we can produce more here, where our emissions are low and labor standards are high. Utahns should be proud of the work being done in the Beehive State, and I look forward to sharing what I learned at the Summit with conservative clean energy leaders across the country.  

– Heather Reams, President of Citizens for Responsible Energy Solutions (CRES)

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