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Wed Apr 29, 2020, 08:14 AM

Look! It's Another Big Steaming Pile Of GOP Greenwash! More Pipelines, Deregulation, "Innovation"

The American Conservation Coalition (ACC) might be the only environmental group on the planet that thinks the United States shouldn’t rejoin the Paris climate agreement. Started by a bunch of college Republicans in 2017, the nonprofit’s mission is to “empower conservatives to re-engage on environmental conversations.” “Environmental conservative” might sound like an oxymoron, but it’s not such an unusual phenomenon these days. Republicans, especially young Republicans, are starting to come around to the idea that the planet is warming and humans have something to do with it.

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On Tuesday, the ACC released its answer to the Green New Deal with a plan called the American Climate Contract. The contract champions policies with bipartisan support, existing climate and environmental legislation in Congress, and free-market principles. It doesn’t include many of the trappings of the climate change platforms floated by progressive thinkers and groups. You won’t find a carbon tax, the aforementioned Paris Agreement, or language about “solving” the climate crisis in the contract.

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In order to do that, ACC’s climate contract suggests passing some of the climate and environment legislation stalled in the House and Senate right now (in no small part due to GOP leadership, which, as anyone who hasn’t been living under a boulder knows, has been a massive impediment to climate action so far). The Carbon Capture Modernization Act, for example, would incentivize the use of carbon capture and storage technology for coal plants by extending existing tax credits to coal companies that opt to retrofit their plants. The Expanding Access to Sustainable Energy Act would require the Department of Energy to award grants to rural energy cooperatives for renewable energy projects. In all, the group cites 14 bills that Congress could act on in the short term. In the long term, the group advocates for investing heavily in clean energy research and development — an approach that some congressional Republicans have already voiced support for. It calls for expanding the nation’s nuclear energy portfolio, investing in carbon capture technology for all kinds of power plants,, and planting more trees — all things Republicans in Congress have said they support.

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Not all climate hawks are as enthusiastic. “This ‘contract’ has some good ideas, like expanding renewables and restoring wetlands,” Jamie Henn, co-founder of 350.org and an organizer of the Stop the Money Pipeline campaign, told Grist, “and some really terrible ones, like building more pipelines and wasting money on carbon capture and sequestration.” Carbon capture proponents have been criticized for promising too much too soon — the technology isn’t where it needs to be in order to put a serious dent in carbon emissions, researchers say. Henn thinks that the only way to bend the emissions curve is to transition from fossil fuels to renewable energy by the end of this decade. “The more we keep pushing forward, the more the right will keep running to catch up,” he added. “Now isn’t the time to compromise.”

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https://grist.org/politics/meet-the-conservative-answer-to-the-green-new-deal/

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