U.S. Republicans are being accused of “greenhouse gaslighting” after releasing a highly-touted climate plan that positions oil and gas extracted within the country’s borders as a climate solution.
One fossil CEO attending the program launch in a fracking-dependent county in New Mexico declared that it’s time to “promote, respect, and appreciate the awesomeness and the goodness of this industry,” Inside Climate News reports.
“At this local government conference room in Hobbs, New Mexico, on Thursday afternoon, the people around the table talked about how the country needs to take a realistic approach to reducing emissions while also promoting economic growth,” Inside Climate writes. “The discussion was likely a test run for the arguments that Republicans will make about energy and climate in the runup to the midterm elections in November.”
“I want to be clear on this: I’m fully supportive of moving in the direction of renewable energy,” declared Rep. Garret Graves (R-LA), head of House Republicans’ Energy, Climate and Conservation Task Force. But it wasn’t immediate clear where the plan would deliver emissions cuts, Inside Climate says. The release contained a series of bullet points that talk about unlocking American resources, fostering American innovation, letting America build, beating China and Russia, practicing some forms of conservation, and building resilient communities, with hints of future details in a website posted by ClearPath Action, a lobby group aligned with the Republican Party.
“The issue at this point is Republicans are still figuring out what policy prescriptions are going to be palatable, are going to work for them,” said Corey Schrodt, former chief of staff to a House Republican now working at the non-partisan Niskanen Center. “But I think you’ve seen a very significant shift in the last three to five years, from just the phrase ‘climate change,’ turning off the conversation, and ending all consideration, to where you can actually have those conversations.”
U.S. climate campaigners were rather less forgiving.
“This would be laughable as a climate agenda in 2022 except there is absolutely nothing funny about the climate crisis or Congressional Republicans’ obstruction of desperately needed solutions in the name of lining the pockets of their corporate allies and big oil polluters who fund their campaigns,” Tiernan Sittenfeld, senior vice president of government affairs for the League of Conservation Voters, said in a statement.
“The overwhelming majority of Americans have been demanding action on the climate crisis for years, while Republicans mocked or ignored their pleas,” said U.S. Sierra Club Legislative Director Melinda Pierce, who wrote off the announcement as a bid to “greenhouse gaslight” the American public.
Inside Climate News has more on the politics of the announcement and the atmosphere in the room during the event in New Mexico.