Op-ed: U.S. manufacturing is among the cleanest in the world – let’s prove it 

Today, RealClearEnergy published an op-ed by CRES President Heather Reams highlighting how the Providing Reliable, Objective, Verifiable Emissions Intensity and Transparency (PROVE IT) Act will increase American competitiveness and decrease global emissions.

Read the full op-ed here or below:

Manufacturing in the United States is among the cleanest in the world. In fact, the U.S. manufactures commodities that are 40% more carbon-efficient than the world average – all while upholding stringent environmental and labor protections.  

American products help lower global pollution when they displace more emissions-intensive imports—but we’ve had no strategy to prove it, until now.  

The Providing Reliable, Objective, Verifiable Emissions Intensity and Transparency (PROVE IT) Act, introduced by U.S. Senators Kevin Cramer (R-N.D.) and Chris Coons (D-Del.), directs the U.S. Department of Energy to conduct a study comparing the emissions intensity of U.S. and foreign production, including that from adversaries like China and Russia. In doing so, it would provide America its own math to defend against foreign trade policies that unfairly disadvantage U.S. exports. 

The European Union plans to impose a carbon tax on certain U.S. imports, starting in 2026, based on their data on our own goods.  There’s reason to own this data: France claimed in 2019 that U.S. liquified natural gas exports were more carbon intensive than the supply produced in Russia, which is and was untrue, based on a 2019 National Energy Technology Laboratory study.  It’s time for America to create our own comparative data on our own goods to protect U.S. businesses and reward our producers who pollute less. 

Citizens for Responsible Energy Solutions (CRES), a non-profit organization that works with Republican lawmakers to advance commonsense solutions that lower global emissions, supports the PROVE IT Act because we believe America needs to defend its commercial interests against foreign carbon taxes. 

Contrary to the narrative being pushed by some energy advocates, the PROVE IT Act is not a pathway to a domestic carbon tax. CRES opposes any policy that would result in such a tax because it would only undermine U.S. competitiveness and harm consumers. Moreover, because a domestic carbon tax would spur the offshoring of U.S. manufacturing, it would increase global pollution. We believe there are better paths to lowering emissions today for a cleaner tomorrow.   

The federal government already has the data needed to impose a domestic carbon tax, but, thankfully, stiff opposition across the political spectrum prevents such a measure from being enacted. What the U.S. government does not have is a comparative dataset that captures what we already know to be true: American-produced goods create fewer emissions than goods produced by most other countries, especially our economic competitors. So, let’s prove it with our own data. 

The PROVE IT Act is a vital step toward showcasing America’s commitment to delivering cleaner products worldwide. It is essential that we prioritize American innovation and competitiveness in our policies and recognize the pivotal role we must undertake to reduce global emissions. CRES applauds the bipartisan support of Senators—including Sens. Kevin Cramer (R-N.D.), Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), Bill Cassidy (R-La.), John R. Boozman (R-Ark.) and Cynthia Lummis (R-Wyo.)—and we look forward to working with lawmakers in both chambers to pass this commonsense legislation. 

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