POLITICS + GOVERNMENT

John Curtis: “We must come to terms with fossil fuels being a part of our future.”

Aug 4, 2022, 6:00 AM | Updated: Aug 30, 2022, 3:17 pm
(Spencer Heaps, Deseret News) Follow @amandadickson...
(Spencer Heaps, Deseret News)
(Spencer Heaps, Deseret News)

“I’m the elephant in the climate room,” Representative John Curtis said today in a speech to the Sutherland Institute. “I’m the one Republican who’s willing to talk about climate.”

Congressman Curtis recently defeated Chris Herrod for the third time in a primary for the Republican place on the ballot in the 3rd Congressional District. Herrod has been extremely critical of Curtis’ energy policies, comparing them to the “Green New Deal.” Curtis will face Democrat Glenn Wright in November.

We’re on the same side

“No matter where you, left or the right, conservative or liberal, our interests are actually aligned,” Rep Curtis said. “I know you don’t get that sense from the rhetoric.”

Curtis believes we are in a new place on this issue. In light of the drying Great Salt Lake, Utah’s drought and other challenges, “people aren’t talking about the climate changing any more. They’re asking what’s causing it to change. It would be hard to find a climate more impacted than Utah’s.”

“We can have it all.”

The congressman remains optimistic. “We can have it all,” he said. He outlined four goals that are possible:

  1. Energy independence.
  2. Strong economy.
  3. Affordable and reliable power.
  4. Reduced emissions.

“The key is you do not have to sacrifice the first three for the fourth,” Curtis explained.

How can all of these goals be achieved simultaneously? Curtis has a six-part plan he calls the “Conservative Climate Solution.” “I’m not going to ask you to leave your conservative credentials at the door,” he joked as he laid it out.

“Conservative Climate Solution”

Here’s the plan:

  1. Nuclear power. “There is no way to get to an emissions free future without nuclear being a substantial part of it.”
  2. Storage problem with renewables. “Right now, renewables have a fatal flaw, and that’s storage.”
  3. Fossil fuels. “We must come to terms with fossil fuels being a part of our future. Billions have been spent on carbon sequestration technology. Fossil fuels CAN be burned without emissions.”
  4. Innovation. “The U.S. must lead the world in innovation. We can do it here in the U.S., or we can sit back and watch the next industrial revolution take place outside our borders.”
  5. Farmers. “We must engage and not fight our farmers. Farmers are the original environmentalists.”
  6. Critical minerals. “A lot of the critical minerals are coming from overseas when we have them here.”

Rep. Curtis’ climate plan “calls for us to be pragmatic, to get off our political biases, right and left.”  When asked about the rancor and tribalism that plagues politics today, he replied “I believe we are one leader away from civility. If that leader doesn’t show up, then we are 100,000 constituents away from civility.”

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John Curtis: “We must come to terms with fossil fuels being a part of our future.”