Rep. John Curtis on the conservative approach to climate change

Sep 7, 2023, 3:01 PM

Rep. John Curtis, R-Utah, speaks during a Utah Aerospace and Defense Association meeting at the Kem...

Rep. John Curtis, R-Utah, speaks during a Utah Aerospace and Defense Association meeting at the Kem C. Gardner Institute in Salt Lake City on Friday, June 2, 2023. (Jeffrey D. Allred/Deseret News)

(Jeffrey D. Allred/Deseret News)

OREM, Utah — Climate change is not a Democrat issue or a liberal issue. Not if you ask Rep.John Curtis, R-Utah.

He is hosting a conservative climate summit on Friday at Utah Valley University.

“This is an opportunity for us to get together and find common ground and demonstrate that conservatives really have a voice in leaving this earth better than we found it,” Curtis said.

One of the topics at the summit that might surprise people is the one that will be addressed by the keynote speaker, Wyoming Gov. Mark Gordon. Gordon will talk about how fossil fuel is part of the solution, not the problem.

“It will surprise a lot of people that fossil fuels have actually been used to reduce massive amounts of greenhouse gas emissions,” Curtis said. “We make a mistake when we demonize an industry and don’t include them in finding solutions.”

A win-win for action on climate change

“If we do this right, we’ll not only be energy independent, but energy dominant around the world,” said Curtis. “We’ll lower emissions. Fuel can be affordable, reliable and clean.”

He wants his fellow Republicans to grasp his basic premise.

“I hope conservatives will understand they don’t have to leave their conservative credentials at the door to be good on this.”

Curtis described his “Aha” moment.

“The same policies that are good for the environment are good for our economy, for national security, for energy independence,” he said. “We’ve all been told that we have to sacrifice all those things. That’s what Europe did. Look what happened in Europe. They sacrificed their national security, and now they’re putting out more greenhouse gasses than they did before.”

A voice at the table

“We need a voice at the table,” Curtis said of conservatives and climate change. “We have a path that we can put forward that doesn’t kill our economy, that doesn’t leave us dependent on an adversary for fuel.”

The representative absolutely believes that energy policy is a national security issue.

“Many of us who are my age will remember the 70s when we found out what happens when a foreign adversary holds us hostage for fuel,” he said. “It’s a bad place to be.”

For those too young to remember that time, there were lines of cars at every gas station waiting for gas. Drivers with license plates ending in even numbers could go on certain days and odd numbers on other days. It was a nightmare.

Today, we see reports of some renewable energy companies struggling to meet the bottom line, particularly with wind farms.

“This is why conservatives have perhaps made a mistake in not engaging in the climate debate,” Curtis said. “We like to ask hard questions. We want to know if this is going to ‘pencil’ before we subsidize it as a government.”

He did say that when solar began, it didn’t “pencil”, but innovation and scale have brought the price down. He explained that pencil, in this context, means ideally that the market should solve these challenges.

I think the market is driving us to clean fuels,” he said. “I also think it’s taking us to affordability and reliability.”

Innovation and emissions reduction

“This is an area for Utah to lead the country and for the country to lead the world,” Curtis explained. “My guess is when we get to the year 2050, we’ll look back and not realize today where all of our innovation will take us and what innovation we’ll be using.”

Related reading:

We want to hear from you.

Have a story idea or tip? Send it to the KSL NewsRadio team here.

Vehicles travel on I-15 in Salt Lake City on June 16. Roughly 71 million people are expected to tra...

Adam Small

Nearly 71 million people expected to travel for the Fourth of July

Up to 71 million people are expected to be traveling for the Fourth of July this year through both driving and plane.

53 minutes ago

the bikeriders movie poster next to ksl movie show host steve salles...

Steve Salles

KSL Movie Show review: ‘The Bikeriders’ didn’t blow me away

In this KSL Movie Show review, we dive into "The Bikeriders," a film based on a photo book by Danny Lyon.

2 hours ago

Supreme Court Police officers stand on duty outside of the Supreme Court building on Thursday, June...

MARK SHERMAN, Associated Press

The Supreme Court upholds a gun control law intended to protect domestic violence victims

The Supreme Court has upheld a federal gun control law on Friday with intentions to protect domestic violence victims.

2 hours ago

june squibb...

Jeff Caplan

Jeff Caplan’s Minute of News: Hollywood’s newest starlet? She’s 94

Arriving in theatres tonight is a different kind of movie, it’s called "Thelma." The star is June Squibb and she’s adorable.

3 hours ago

The storm surge from Tropical Storm Alberto floods the streets in Surfside Beach, Texas, on Wednesd...

Carter Williams,

Flood watch issued for parts of Utah as tropical storm remnants arrive

Parts of Utah will be on a flood watch on June 21 as a tropical storm moves through the state. Flash flooding is also possible on Saturday.

4 hours ago

tomatoes and curly top disease...

Michelle Lee

What is curly top disease and how do you identify it?

Are your tomatoes struggling this year? It may be because of a disease called curly top. If you’re not sure, here are some tips on how to identify it.

5 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

Underwater shot of the fisherman holding the fish...

Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

Your Bear Lake fishing guide

Bear Lake offers year-round fishing opportunities. By preparing ahead of time, you might go home with a big catch!

A group of people cut a purple ribbon...


Comcast announces major fiber network expansion in Utah

Comcast's commitment to delivering extensive coverage signifies a monumental leap toward a digitally empowered future for Utahns.

a doctor putting her hand on the chest of her patient...

Intermountain Health

Intermountain nurse-midwives launch new gynecology access clinic

An access clinic launched by Intermountain nurse-midwives provides women with comprehensive gynecology care.

Young couple hugging while a realtor in a suit hands them keys in a new home...

Utah Association of Realtors

Buying a home this spring? Avoid these 5 costly pitfalls

By avoiding these pitfalls when buying a home this spring, you can ensure your investment will be long-lasting and secure.

a person dressed up as a nordic viking in a dragon boat resembling the bear lake monster...

Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

The Legend of the Bear Lake Monster

The Bear Lake monster has captivated people in the region for centuries, with tales that range from the believable to the bizarre.


Live Nation Concerts

All the artists coming to Utah First Credit Union Amphitheatre (formerly USANA Amp) this summer

Summer concerts are more than just entertainment; they’re a celebration of life, love, and connection.

Rep. John Curtis on the conservative approach to climate change