Taylor Goldenstein Jan. 22, 2020
Texas Rep. Dan Crenshaw said Wednesday that conservatives can’t afford to ignore the topic of climate change.
“We can make fun of the left’s sort of alarmist views on climate change — and we should, to an extent — but we can’t ignore it completely,” Crenshaw said during a keynote Q-and-A at the right-leaning Texas Public Policy Foundation’s 2020 policy conference. “From a political standpoint, we cannot ignore it completely.”
The 35-year-old congressman, who has proven to be a leader within the party for rallying young conservatives, said most of the left’s alarmism on climate change is unwarranted, but not all of it.
“It’s not totally untrue. Their alarmism is often, almost always, completely untrue and not founded in facts or data. When they’re blaming storms and things on climate change, it’s usually nonsense,” Crenshaw said. “That doesn’t mean there isn’t some effect on the climate from man-made emissions, and we can admit that.”
Related: Climate change poses a threat to oil’s exploration budgets, report finds
Noting that the environment is a top priority for members of both sides of the aisle, and especially independents, a key target for Republicans, Crenshaw said that even if Americans disagree on the cause of climate change, there is common ground. Everyone has an interest in cleaner air and water and “generally lowering emissions,” he said.
“Even if we don’t know what it’s doing to the environment, let’s at least err on the side of caution,” Crenshaw said. “But it doesn’t mean erring on the side of destroying the economy, which is what the left would have. So two things: grant some of the premise — not all of the premise — that they’re operating on, some of it, and expose them for what they’re really trying to do, which is a complete socialist takeover of the economy.”
Crenshaw’s comments Wednesday starkly contrasted with those of President Donald Trump — who just Tuesday at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, dismissed those who warn about climate change as “prophets of doom” — and other Republican leaders who deny climate change.
Texas Take: Get political headlines from across the state sent directly to your inbox
He made the remarks while explaining why he supports Republicans’ climate plan, led by House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy and still being drafted, one that could eventually rival the Green New Deal legislation supported by some Democrats, including presidential candidates Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders. McCarthy told Axios this week that the plan will focus on capturing carbon dioxide emissions, clean-energy innovation and funding, and conservation. (In true millennial fashion, Crenshaw said he’s pushing McCarthy to come up with a catchy hashtag for it.)
“The American people should know: there’s a 3rd option when it comes to addressing climate change,” Crenshaw tweeted Tuesday after McCarthy’s draft made news. “It’s not the absurd Green New Deal, & it’s not inaction. It’s innovation & it’ll decrease emissions without sacrificing our economy. Example: carbon capture, LNG, hydro & nuclear.”