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House Republicans introduce climate initiative as Dems continue Green New Deal push

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy is taking a conservative approach to tackling climate change with the help of his GOP colleagues.

McCarthy’s Energy Innovation Agenda comes as House Democrats on Tuesday reintroduced the progressive plan to fight climate change in the U.S.: the Green New Deal, which has 103 House cosponsors, along with separate bills for public housing, a civilian climate corps and funding for cities.

“Our goal with the Energy Innovation Agenda is to show the country how our solutions-oriented policies on climate and energy would lower global emissions and maintain U.S. energy independence,” McCarthy, R-Calif., told Fox News.

He noted that between 2000 and 2016 the U.S. reduced more carbon emissions than the 12 next most emissions-reducing countries combined, “proving that we can have a robust energy sector employing thousands of Americans while also lowering emissions.”

The minority leader has been sharing video statements of his House GOP colleagues giving brief explanations of their respective proposals to help conserve U.S. wildlife and forests, promote nuclear power as a clean solution, protect U.S. pipelines and natural gas, roll back harmful regulations and push American energy innovation.

The initiative features legislation from about 40 lawmakers so far.

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“This agenda is absolutely a step in the right direction for a more climate-conscious Republican Party and has the potential to establish Republicans as the party of real climate solutions,” Karly Matthews, communications director of the American Conservation Collation, a nonprofit, youth-focused environmental group, told Fox News. 

Matthews added that “many” of the 30-plus bills included in McCarthy’s initiative are bipartisan, “commonsense, actionable measures to reduce emissions, contrasted with a nonbinding resolution with no real support from either party.”

“There’s definitely still work to do on this issue of climate change in the 117th Congress, but ACC is encouraged by this demonstration of leadership from House Republicans,” she said.

US Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Democrat of New York, and US Senator Ed Markey (R), Democrat of Massachusetts, speak during a press conference to announce Green New Deal legislation in 2019. (Photo credit should read SAUL LOEB/AFP via Getty Images)

US Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Democrat of New York, and US Senator Ed Markey (R), Democrat of Massachusetts, speak during a press conference to announce Green New Deal legislation in 2019. (Photo credit should read SAUL LOEB/AFP via Getty Images)

The minority leader also criticized the Green New Deal as legislation that does not build upon the country’s success but “radically changes the economy and punishes America while doing little to address global emissions,” adding that the legislation, which would make the U.S. 100% reliant on renewable energy over 10 years, could cost each American household up to $65,000 per year.

Green New Deal author Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., has argued that the plan would cost nothing because it is a “non-binding resolution of values.” She said Tuesday that the bill would create 20 million union jobs.

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McCarthy, however, said the left’s climate policies like the Green New Deal would “lead other countries to depend on dirtier energy from nations like China and Russia,” which he said is “not only bad for our environment but our national security, as well.”

“In contrast, Republicans want to support American innovation and are focused on technology solutions that make our energy cleaner, more affordable and more exportable,” he said.

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The Washington, D.C.-based, clean-energy nonprofit Citizens for Responsible Energy Solutions (CRES) also applauded McCarthy’s initiative. 

“When progressives say Republicans don’t care about the environment, here are three dozen reasons why that’s just not true,” CRES executive director Heather Reams said in a Monday statement. “These bills from House Republicans give America a clear-headed alternative to the reckless spending and heavy-handed government control offered by the Biden administration.”

She added that the bills and policies featured in the agenda “present a climate change plan that doesn’t sacrifice our country.”

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