Climate Solutions, Texas Style
The following article was authored by Bob Inglis, a Republican who represented Greenville-Spartanburg, SC in the U.S. Congress from 1993-1999 and 2005-2011. He now works to advance free enterprise solutions to climate change at republicEn.org.
Houston is the energy capital of the world that’s poised to be the energy innovation capital of the world. When it comes to solving climate change, Texas is ready with the cheer across the gym during Spirit Week: “We’ve got a solution, yes we do, we’ve got a solution, how ‘bout you?”
Ten, five, even two years ago, that wouldn't have been the GOP rally cry. But today, led by House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy with support from party leaders like Reps. Greg Walden, John Shimkus and Garret Graves, plus Texans like Dan Crenshaw and Michael McCaul, Republican conference members are getting behind climate solutions. McCaul recently noted "we need to take positive steps to address" climate change, and more than two dozen GOP lawmakers have been thoughtfully pulling together a better answer than the Green New Deal. Those of us on the EcoRight are cheering because we’re finally beginning to balance the Environmental Left.
“We actually have solutions and it’s based in technological innovation that we can export to the world,” Rep. Crenshaw said recently.
While for years, conservatives were the 800-pound elephant in the room when it came to debate on climate change, those on the fringes of American politics should not penalize House leaders for their enthusiasm to move forward on a set of solutions that aligns with the values of limited federal government and a vibrant free market. In the words of Rep. Graves, who holds the top Republican seat on the House Select Committee on the Climate Crisis: "We've got to move forward in a fact-based, realistic approach, as opposed to something that may be more emotional.” He’s likely referring to the Green New Deal which, while short on specifics, would appear to be a regulatory, domestic-only, woefully inadequate approach to a worldwide challenge needing bold American leadership and the dynamism of the free enerprise system.
But as some stakeholders on both sides criticize the Republican package, which includes efforts to reduce plastics, plant trees, and spark innovation—something we can all cheerlead for—it’s to be celebrated that the rally cry has shifted from the unfortunate “it’s not happening” to “it’s happening, so let’s solve it in a conservative way.”
"There's nothing that is not fully aligned with conservative ideology with what we announced — there's nothing,” Graves said at the rollout of the first stage of the GOP plan.
Texas finds itself in a unique position. Long the oil and gas giant of the U.S., in recent years, the Lone Star State has catapulted over Iowa and Oklahoma to also become the top wind energy generator, with enough power to keep the lights on in over six million homes. No one knows that better than Texas, where those abundant fossil fuels and the promise of renewable energy work side by side to power the state. The EcoRight runs strong in Texas because Texas is a free enterprise state that’s ready to drive innovation.
And while there are legitimate concerns with the intermittency of renewable energy during the times when the sun doesn’t shine or the wind doesn’t blow, luckily the capacity of battery storage continues to grow and the prices continue to drop. In fact, investments in battery technology and other storage ideas, which allow for more grid flexibility, will be critical if we’re going to harness more of that God-given clean energy. With Texas innovators on the scene, it’s clear that “We’ve got a solution, yes we do!”