Daily on Energy: Exclusive details of Senate GOP climate plan

Read in Washington Examiner here

GOP CLIMATE PLAN: A group of Republican senators is introducing a clean energy and climate strategy today that challenges the Biden administration and Democrats’ agenda of massively expanding clean energy while reducing fossil fuel production and use.

Sens. Dan Sullivan of Alaska, Kevin Cramer of North Dakota, and Cynthia Lummis of Wyoming — all representing major oil and gas producing states — are releasing the “American Energy, Jobs, and Climate” plan, which aims to cut global emissions up to 40% from today’s levels by 2050, according to a fact sheet obtained exclusively by Josh.

The plan is notable in that Republicans are setting an emissions reduction target (which they haven’t done before).

George David Banks, former international energy adviser in the Trump administration, told Josh that energy-related carbon emissions being 40% less in 2050 would represent a significant change from today.

It’s less aggressive than net-zero pledges most world leaders are now calling for in order to prevent the worst consequences of climate change, but those targets are being set domestically, not globally. He said reducing global emissions by 40% would necessarily require substantial cuts from the U.S.

“People will just dismiss it because it’s not net-zero, but in reality it’s substantial,” Banks said. “If you have a global goal and are designing policy around that, you are acknowledging U.S. responsibility for global emissions. We haven’t done this before.”

But by focusing on global emissions and not setting aside a U.S. goal, Republicans are swiping at President Joe Biden and Democrats for aiming to cut domestic emissions in half by 2030.

Proponents say that an aggressive domestic target inspires the rest of the world to do more. Republicans say U.S. targets mean nothing without international emission reductions, especially from China (the U.S. and China combine for about 40% of global emissions).

Ok, so what’s in it? The plan calls for familiar ideas favored by Republicans, such as developing and deploying clean energy technologies, including carbon capture, advanced nuclear reactors, and battery storage, and exporting those innovations abroad.

It also aims to “revitalize” manufacturing of renewable energy technologies in the U.S, such as solar panels and wind turbines, to lessen dependence on China — a goal shared by Democrats.

And it seeks to reform permitting of energy, infrastructure, and mining projects to ensure they can be built faster.

The plan would “export America’s innovations — not our jobs — and in turn, reduce global emissions,” said Heather Reams, president of Citizens for Responsible Energy Solutions, a conservative clean energy group.

Fossil fuels remain dividing line: Republican senators diverge from Democrats most glaringly in promoting an expansion of natural gas production at home, while exporting more LNG abroad, which they say would displace dirtier coal in developing countries with growing energy demand. The Republicans don’t acknowledge any need to reduce fossil fuel use or development.

They make clear they continue to oppose “mandates, regulations, and taxes.” That would seem to include regulation of methane emissions.

Addressing methane leaks is not mentioned, despite it being a major problem facing the oil and gas industry that raises doubts about Republican claims that natural gas is a “clean” solution for decades to come.

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