When the international climate conference (COP26) meets next week in Glasgow, Scotland, President BidenJoe BidenOvernight Energy & Environment – American Clean Power – Supreme Court to Consider Power Plant Regulation Case Harris Makes Final Argument for McAuliffe Overnight Health Care – Brought to you by Altria – Young Children Get A Little Closer to Vaccine MORE should argue that America should lead on the climate. We agree with the chairman. Unfortunately, the route taken by the administration is, in many ways, in direct contrast to the route taken by the administration. should to take.
The facts and the evidence are clear. America has reduced more absolute emissions since 2005 than any other country, while lowering the average cost of energy. We have made this progress through innovation and the free market. Despite this evidence that companies are meeting consumer demand for clean energy, President Biden has chosen crippling regulations, mandates and subsidies to pick winners and losers, hurting the U.S. economy. We must reduce emissions, not energy choices, and free markets to enable American entrepreneurship to achieve the goal of a cleaner world.
Since taking office, the president has made it clear that he wants to establish American leadership on climate change, but what he has failed to recognize is that the United States is already the world leader in the reduction of absolute emissions and the fight against climate change. And we got there through free market innovation, not hard regulations. This conference presents an opportunity for America to show other countries what has worked for us, while lowering energy prices. Let’s double the performance, not the counterproductive politics.
The Paris agreement, which many members of the international community hailed as a breakthrough, falls short. Countries are not meeting their commitments (unless you count China is increasing its emissions since they are authorized under the Agreement to do so until 2030)) and no major savings (including the entire G20) have a sufficiently ambitious plan to meet their respective obligations. Ambition is only as good as the roadmap to achieve it.
We cannot ignore the fact that most future emissions will come from developing countries and, therefore, they are essential to global decarbonization. We also cannot ignore the reality that these countries are desperately concerned about a better standard of living and will not tell hundreds of millions of people that they cannot have air conditioning. Developing countries are reasonably reluctant to limit their economic growth for a lower carbon footprint. Fortunately, there is a solution to this apparent dilemma: innovation and economic freedom.
The most effective way to help developing countries embark on green technologies is to do so for their economic benefit. Policies that lay the foundation for investment and innovation will help both grow their economies while flattening the emissions curve faster. Many clean and affordable energy sources and technologies exist today and could be deployed very quickly if policymakers reorient their priorities, budgets and regulations. This is encouraging news for the future of our planet. We also need more innovation, both in the United States and around the world. Policies rooted in limited government and the free market, not expansive government and central planning, will allow the private sector to continue to lead the way in finding cost-effective and green solutions.
The arguments for economic freedom are powerful. Using the Heritage Foundation’s Economic Freedom Index and the Yale Environmental Performance Index, we found a strong correlation between economic freedom and environmental performance. Free savings are clean savings. In fact, they are twice as clean as the non-free ones. Free societies are richer and devote more resources to protecting the environment. They also have strong institutions that protect private property rights and respect the role of civil society. Sometimes individuals will claim that capitalism is in fact responsible for the environmental damage and then turn a blind eye to the balloon emissions and environmental damage caused by China. America produces energy with fewer emissions, environmental nuisances and better labor standards than anywhere else in the world, and especially more than centralized economies.
Despite the fragile record of international climate negotiations, we are heading to Glasgow to deliver a message that is not based on alarmism but rather on worry and optimism. We must face the risks that climate change poses to our planet, but we must also recognize that many policies proposed today will hurt American taxpayers, energy consumers, the competitiveness of the United States and will not reduce not global emissions.
Bottom-up solutions that empower people and not governments will significantly reduce the risks of climate change. We will see a faster and more widespread deployment of low and zero carbon energies and technologies when we have a faster deployment of economic freedom.
The next iteration of countries’ emissions targets and how much countries are willing to spend will dominate much of the discussion at COP26. It will be more a question of keeping warming at 2 or 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels. But setting targets means nothing if we don’t have a solid strategy to meet them, let alone verify the emissions targets claimed by countries with questionable records of transparency.
The best hope of the United States and the world is to reject the advice of central planners and regulators, and fully embrace the proven principles of economic freedom that lead to innovation. Creativity, not coercion, is the best way to protect our natural and economic environment.
Representative John Curtis represents Utah 3rd District and is the chair of the Conservative Climate Caucus. Drew Bond is the co-founder and president of C3 Solutions and was a senior advisor to the Department of Energy under President George Bush.