By Congressman Markwayne Mullin
From dramatic speeches at the United Nations Climate Summit to climate protests halting traffic across the country, the topic of climate change and clean energy has dominated the news cycle.
Clean air and clean water is an important issue and it’s one that both sides could find common ground on if they wanted to. But unfortunately, the socialist Left has taken over the debate and is more interested in pushing their radical policies on the American people than finding real solutions.
Not only are their ideas bad for Americans, they are completely unrealistic. The Green New Deal aims to harvest 100 percent of U.S. electricity from renewable energy sources and make the U.S.’s carbon footprint neutral in the next 10 years. House Democrats have also called for us to reach net zero emissions by 2050.
What they don’t mention is that no country has reduced emissions more than the United States over the last decade. Carbon dioxide emissions have plunged to the lowest levels in our country in generations. Our country is not even the biggest polluter. China has continually increased their emissions over the same time frame.
Government regulation cannot outrun technology. Last year, the U.S. only drew 17 percent of its total electricity from renewable sources. We would need a wind farm the size of Texas in order replace the energy we currently consume from fossil fuels. That’s over 268,000 square miles of wind turbines.
While investing in clean energy is an important piece of the puzzle, the wind isn’t always blowing and the sun isn’t always shining. We truly need an all-of-the-above energy strategy in order to keep the lights on at a price American families can afford.
Oklahoma is a great example. We have diversified our energy portfolio and we are now a leader in clean energy. Our state is the 2nd leading state in wind power generation and our wind farms generate enough electricity to power almost 3 million homes. When there’s no wind, we still have reliable energy.
These successes did not happen because the federal government mandated it. It happened because the consumers demanded cheaper energy from cleaner sources. The free market should continue to drive our decisions.
Republicans have proposed commonsense solutions to climate change that are good for the environment and our economy, but Democrats have continually let the most radical voices dominate the conversation. If they’re as serious as they say they are, they will quit playing games and come to the table to find real solutions.