WASHINGTON (NEXSTAR) – House Republicans unveiled their own environmental platform this week amid the White House’s virtual climate summit with countries from every region of the world.
The GOP plan argues instead of focusing on regulations, the Biden administration should reduce emissions more naturally, like planting a trillion trees across the globe.
“This summit is a start,” President Biden said as he opened Friday’s session. “I’m grateful to all the leaders who have announced new commitments to help us meet the existential threat of climate change.”
President Biden pledged the U.S. will cut greenhouse gas emissions in half by 2030, but the head Republican on the House Natural Resources Committee pushed back.
“If we just try to regulate carbon out of existence in the United States, what we’re going to do is regulate our economy into turmoil while the rest of the world continues to put greenhouse gases into the atmosphere,” said Rep. Bruce Westerman, R-AR.
Westerman reintroduced his own plan: plant a trillion trees worldwide by 2050.
“The answer always comes back to forests,” he said.
Westerman’s legislation would also create incentives to use wood products, like specialty charcoal called biochar, to capture carbon and benefit other industries like agriculture.
“Being able to not only have healthy forests, but also be able to feed the world’s population,” he said.
There is growing bipartisan support for this plan among members of Congress, but Republicans stress the true commitment needs to come from other countries with increasing emissions.
“If we get rid of oil and gas, if we tax the living daylights out of our companies and cost a lot of people their jobs to implement his [Biden’s] Green New Deal, and China doesn’t do anything, what have we achieved?,” Sen. John Kennedy, R-LA, asked.
Much of the president’s climate goals depend on the passage of his infrastructure package, which currently has unanimous GOP opposition.
“He’s gone full woke-arista, and I don’t think that’s what the American people want,” Kennedy said.
The Republican climate policies would also promote nuclear energy internationally, secure the domestic supply chain for critical minerals and streamline regulations that they say are currently slowing clean energy projects.