After denouncing House GOP climate change proposal, conservative Club for Growth works on its own plan

As originally published in The Washington Examiner.

February 20, 2020

By: Josh Siegel

The conservative group Club for Growth is crafting a plan to address climate change after denouncing a climate agenda introduced last week by House Republican leaders.

Joe Kildea, a Club for Growth spokesman, confirmed to the Washington Examiner that the group is preparing a plan “based on free market principles, deregulation, etc. — not subsidies, tax breaks, etc.” He did not provide a timeline for releasing the plan.

The reference to opposing subsidies and tax breaks is a jab at a legislative package introduced last week by House Republican leader Kevin McCarthy and allies focused on providing tax subsidies for coal and natural gas plants that capture carbon emissions and launching a program to help the world plant 1 trillion trees.

The package includes an expansion of a tax break approved by Congress in 2018 and signed by President Trump for companies that use carbon capture technology to trap carbon emissions from fossil fuel or industrial plants. Trump has also endorsed planting trees.

Despite Trump’s support, David McIntosh, president of the Club for Growth’s PAC, denounced the House Republican agenda upon its release. He described it as riddled with “environmental taxes, regulations, and subsidies,” and vowed that Club for Growth’s PAC would not endorse candidates who support the “liberal environmental policies” push by McCarthy.

House Republicans took exception, saying McIntosh’s characterization of their plan was inaccurate. McCarthy ally Garret Graves, the top Republican on the Select Climate Committee, released a statement that “House Republicans stand united against carbon taxes and burdensome regulations.”

House Republican aides acknowledge the modesty of their proposal compared to the liberal “Green New Deal.” The House GOP agenda is designed to prevent the demise of fossil fuels, while the Green New Deal seeks to move away from coal, oil, and gas entirely.

“We are confident that whatever policy is produced by Club would be welcomed here and integrated into the ongoing discussions as they pertain to climate policy,” a House GOP aide told the Washington Examiner on Thursday.

It’s unclear whether the Club for Growth’s plan can be considered a serious attempt at addressing emissions if it’s more limited than what House Republicans proposed.

But other conservative groups that have endorsed the House Republican agenda say it’s significant that Club for Growth, one of the groups most stridently opposed to federal action to curb emissions, is compelled to propose an alternative climate plan.

“Voters from all political stripes want government action to address lowering emissions, so this is exactly what should be happening — a competition of ideas on the right to create and improve upon proposed policies,” said Heather Reams, executive director of Citizens for Responsible Energy Solutions. “To date, we’ve seen so little of that from conservatives.”

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