Op-ed: Why Homegrown Energy is the Key to Reducing Global Emissions

WASHINGTON — The Washington Times published an op-ed by CRES President Heather Reams highlighting how the free market enables the United States to be among the most innovative and cleanest producers and exporters of the world’s goods, resources and energy.

Read the full op-ed here or below:

There has never been a more exciting time to work in conservative energy politics. Republicans in Congress and across the country are leading on commonsense policies to address climate change and boost American energy production. Today’s Republicans are engaged in the debate about how to leave our planet better than we found it, and their message is clear: Reduce emissions, not energy choices.  

As president of CRES for nearly a decade, I have worked with Republican lawmakers on policy solutions that advance our nation’s energy security and environmental protection. A right-of-center approach to solving climate change may seem absurd to some, but it makes complete sense to Republicans because we know that free-market principles and limited government intervention are necessary to tackle any large-scale challenge including reducing global emissions.   

The United States is among the most innovative and cleanest producers and exporters of goods, resources and energy in the world. A primary driver for this outcome is because a free-market economy rewards efficiency and innovation. More efficient production results in less lifecycle emissions per unit often because fewer resources are required. Put simply, the free-market drives efficiency, and efficiency results in lower emissions.   

That is why, following the Biden Administration’s decision to restrict permits to export clean, American-produced liquified natural gas (LNG), Congressional Republicans spoke out about the global emissions-reducing benefits of U.S. LNG. The Russian invasion of Ukraine resulted in our European allies scrambling to secure new energy providers as they were reliant on Russian natural gas. Ironically for the green-minded Europeans, Russian natural gas exported to Europe results in 41% more emissions than U.S. LNG exported to the same location. Indeed, importing American LNG will reduce the European carbon footprint. 

And this goes beyond Europe’s energy needs. According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA), world energy consumption will grow by nearly 50 percent between 2020 and 2050. Global demand for natural gas is expected to increase 31 percent to 58 percent, with a 44 percent to 80 percent increase for developing countries. Therefore, reducing global emissions requires the United States to remain a leader in exporting natural gas abroad.  

Republicans in Congress are not just advocating for lower emissions; they are organizing, too. 

The U.S. House Conservative Climate Caucus, founded by Rep. John Curtis (R-Utah) in 2021 and now chaired by Rep. Mariannette Miller-Meeks (R-Iowa), is made up of more than 85 Republican Members of Congress who recognize America can and should play a leading role in reducing global emissions. 

Caucus members are at the forefront advocating for an all-of-the-above energy approach, which includes U.S.-produced oil and natural gas, as well as wind, solar, hydro, nuclear, hydrogen, geothermal, battery storage as well as scaling technologies such as carbon capture.  

Republicans have championed permitting reform because they understand the optimum way for America to lead in reducing global emissions and to meet America’s economic, security and environmental objectives begins by removing the government obstacles that hinder American production and reduce our competitiveness in both domestic and global markets. And when the U.S. doesn’t produce, dirtier suppliers will gladly fill the void. 

Republicans are working to onshore clean energy supply chains to ensure we are not enriching adversarial nations, such as China. They are pointing out that Chinese mining results in over five times the emissions than mining in the United States, and they are calling on the Biden Administration to bring these supply chains home. They know clean energy development that utilizes an American supply chain supports local communities, boosts the U.S. economy and strengthens our national security. 

Public collaboration with the private sector can also play an important role in advancing these goals. To foster this collaboration, CRES supports U.S. Department of Energy programs that research, develop and deploy new innovative technologies; smart clean energy tax credits that incentivize private investment; and a streamlined permitting structure that provides a clear and certain path for project developers and protects against serial litigators. If we are going to build clean energy systems, we need to cut red tape, empower U.S. energy entrepreneurs and ensure new projects can get out of the planning phase and into implementation and deployment.  

CRES advocates for Republican-led, bipartisan solutions that will increase the amount of clean, carbon-free energy we produce in the United States. Earlier this year, House Republicans passed – and CRES endorsed – H.R. 1, a bill to cut red tape, unleash American energy production and provide affordable, reliable and clean energy to families and businesses across the country. More recently, CRES has endorsed legislation that exemplifies our all-of-the-above approach to energy production, including Rep. Jeff Duncan’s (R-S.C.) legislation to support advanced nuclear development, Rep. Michelle Steel’s (R-Calif.) bill to accelerate geothermal energy production and Rep. Guy Reschenthaler’s (R-Penn.) legislation to increase domestic manufacturing of rare earth magnets.  

We support Republican lawmakers who support advancements in clean energy because we understand that for policies to have lasting power, they must have buy-in from both sides of the aisle. 

Attacking emissions – not energy choices – is the way to solve climate change. Republicans are at the table with effective solutions to leave our planet better than we found it, and homegrown energy of all kinds is the key. 

Heather Reams is President of Citizens for Responsible Energy Solutions (CRES).

Read the full op-ed here.

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