tv Washington Journal Rep. John Curtis CSPAN July 1, 2021 1:14pm-1:41pm EDT
you wouldn't have accepted that prize if you didn't write the book, did you? that's not the right thing to do. >> craiger ifman, sunday night at 8:00 eastern. you can listen to "q&a" as a podcast wherever you get your podcasts. s representative john curtis, republican from utah. also the chair of the conservative climate caucus. representative curtis, thank you for joining us. guest: great to be with you. host: talk about this caucus. guest: we were very strategic with the name because we wanted to be very clear that we were embracing the science with climate and we are conservatives.
we have a lot of good answers we want to bring to the table we draw think are being currently discussed. host: what is the goal of the caucus, particularly when it comes to climate change, what is the belief this caucus holds? guest: the first tenant of the caucus's climate is changing and years and years and years of the industrial revolution have clearly had an impact on it and we want to do something about it. i know people are not used to republicans talking about it, but i personally feel like it is time for republicans to be a little more aggressive with our message. i think the fact we have not been engaged in this left us to be branded about not caring about the environment and i do not believe that is true. host: how many members of your caucus and where do you go from here if you have establish the caucus, what you want to see done? guest: today, there are 65
members and a grows every day. that is one third of the entire republican conference. it is one of the biggest caucuses in washington, d.c. for republicans. a huge outpouring of support for my colleagues. as far as where we want to go, now that we have formed the caucus, the caucus' main mission is to educate republicans on climate related issues and be a think tank for solutions and things we want to advocate and put forward. host: when it comes to solutions, one of the topics that comes to the top is one about to do with fossil fuels. democrats and republicans have a different thought on what to be done. guest: i think it is very important that we ask ourselves, how do we lower worldwide greenhouse/carbon emissions? we have reduced our carbon
emissions in the united states on a dramatic level over the last decade. we have reduced more than the next 10 countries combined. we have done that with fossil fuel, natural gas. as we look at how we will impact emissions in china, india, russia, clearly there is a role for fossil fuels. another important point is, we have demonized fossil fuels and the people who have worked so hard to produce them. i think that is a dialogue we need to turn around and be very careful with how we villa nice people and fossil fuels. host: this administration when it comes to environment and climate change, rejoined the paris climate agreement, revoked the pipeline, conserving at least 30% of federal land and oceans by 2030, establishing climate change as a national
security policy, can your caucus go along with those actions of the biden administration? guest: we want to ask the question, does what they are suggesting lower worldwide greenhouse gas emissions and what is the cost to do it and are there better alternatives? you went through quite a list and most of those do not meet the litmus test. we need to be putting our ideas forward. host: if this is a focus on how other countries handle their clement process, what can your caucus expect to do? guest: i am not suggesting we should not do our part in the united states. i think sometimes republicans are blamed for thinking, let's put our head in the sand about what we are doing in the united states. it is important to be a leader in the world. it is also a mistake and the paris accord is a good example,
to give china a green light on increasing their carbon emissions for the next 20 years. we cannot obtain articles for climate if we are going to allow that to happen. host: our guest is with us until 8:30. representative john curtis, the chair of the conservative climate caucus. if you want to ask him questions, you can do so on the lines -- (202) 748-8000 for democrats, (202) 748-8001 for republicans. independents, (202) 748-8002. also, you can text us at (202) 748-8003. host: let me play you a little bit about president biden addressing climate concerns. i will get your response to it. [video clip] pres. biden: i see autoworkers
building the next generation of electric vehicles, electricians installing nationwide for 500 thousand charging stations along the highways. i see engineers in the construction workers building new carbon capturing green carbon plants to forge cleaner steel, cement and produce clean power. i see farmers deploying cutting-edge tools to make soil of our heartland the next frontier in carbon innovation. by maintaining those investments, and putting these people to work, the united states sets out on the road to cut greenhouse gases and have by the end of this decade. that is where we are headed as a nation. that is what we can do if we take action to build an economy that is not only more prosperous, but healthier, more fair and cleaner for the entire planet.
these steps will set america on a path for a net zero emissions economy by no later than 2050. the truth is america represents less than 15% of the world's emissions. no nation can solve this crisis on our own, as i know you all fully understand. all of us, particularly those who represent the world's largest economies, we have to step up. those who do take action and make bold investments to their people in a clean energy future will win the good jobs of tomorrow and make their economies more resilient and competitive. host: representative curtis, those are the words of the president. what is your response? guest: quite frankly, there is a lot to agree with with what the president is talking about. i think he echoed some of the things i said at the beginning. the concept the u.s. is only 15% of worldwide carbon emissions and we have to get other
countries engaged in this. we have to develop innovations here in the united states that will deal with carbon and other countries and we have to be the low-cost provider for energy so other countries will adopt what we are doing. perhaps where we disagree a little bit is in our approach to some of these things. i believe, and i think many members of the caucus believe, you do not have to kill u.s. jobs to accomplish these goals. if we do this the right way we will enhance the u.s. economy. the question at hand is, we can agree with the goals of reducing carbon and we can understand the science to all of that. the question is, how do we get there? one of the main purposes for this caucus is to make sure republicans have a voice at this table. we have not had that voice in this debate. a lot of us want to be more aggressive in promoting our ideas. host: how did you personally arrive at your views on the climate? guest: that is a really
interesting question. i wish i had an hour to answer the question. for me, it has been a journey. i started out as a stereotypical conservative, dodging the question about the environment, i was uncomfortable about the question of whether or not the climate was changing. i tried to understand the science the best that i could and understand the solutions. what i found was, we do not have to be afraid of the solutions. they do not have to be as painful as some people advocate. they can be very good for us. the reality is all of us can agree, less pollution is better than more pollution. and we talk about it that way, it is a little easier to engage everyone, versus some of the divisive rhetoric that often comes into this debate. host: let's hear from ron new jersey on the democrats' line.
good morning. caller: good morning. nobody is talking about fusion energy. we can burn our garbage and get back are natural resources. -- get back our natural resources. we can get the power we need without any pollution at all and without any leftover radiation. it seems to me to be a perfect solution. guest: good morning. let me echo the overall theme of what you are saying, there is some amazing innovation that we are on the cusp of. i will throw in hydrogen. there are a number of things u.s. innovation can lead out on. i do not understand the science of fusion myself, but i know there is a lot of innovation just waiting.
we are at a crossroads. as the united states, we can be the one who leads out with this innovation or let our competitors overseas do it. this is a time to seize the moment and make sure we are leading, as the united states. host: california, independent line, this is ruth. caller: good morning eared good morning -- good morning. good morning, representative curtis and good morning, pedro, and everyone. i have heard a lot of good ideas also about carbon capture. it sounds to me that you, in thinking creatively about cutting-edge technologies in general, that also there are a lot of good, productive things that could be done with carbon
capture. one more little point on nuclear power. if a nuclear power plant needs the cooling towers, even with the new technology, that has a significant impact on the surrounding area. i do not know if the newer technology requires that. i appreciate your interest and efforts, and your observation that since the industrial revolution, we have advanced much faster than natural processes in terms of our impact on the earth. host: thank you. guest: ruth, good morning. if you are on the west coast, you are up bright and early.
she made some very good points. we have carbon capture, something called -- we are pulling carbon out of the air. these technologies exist. they are not perfected on a mass scale. let me tell you why they must be part of the equation. so much carbon is coming out of china, india. we have one billion people without electricity who are burning wood. we will not reach our carbon objectives unless some of our technology on carbon capture is actually perfected. i think it has to be part of the equation. we have to be incentivizing and investing in that. i will touch on nuclear. at the same time president biden wants to cut our emissions in half, we will cut our nuclear energy supply in half. we will go from 20% of our overall energy to 10% because we are shutting down nuclear
plants. i think that is the wrong direction. we need generation nuclear, we need to innovate nuclear, as well, but we need to talk about nuclear, as well, if we are going to solve this problem. host: it was in an interview with another publication that the president's advisors said the white house would demand congressional democrats dictate carbon free after 2035. what do you think about that goal? is it achievable and is it needed? guest: you have to ask yourself, how does it impact the big goal? the big goal is not u.s. emissions. the big goal is worldwide carbon emissions. if we are going to kill our economy to reach that goal and not move the needle on worldwide emissions, we have to be careful. we are on a trajectory to reduce traumatically our carbon
submissions and when he to keep that trajectory going. the real question is, how did we get there? we just talked about nuclear, you will not reach that goal if you wipeout nuclear. host: illinois, republican line, this is cindy. caller: good morning. i would like to make one comment and that i will ask you a question. how many citizens out there that can afford maybe $80,000, $100,000 electric car. i cannot, and i bet you 80% of americans cannot. can you talk a little bit about a bill that the republican sound that the democrats were trying to sneak in, millions of dollars for a fund for china for climate change? can you let the public know about that? thank you very much. guest: thank you for your call
this morning. i am not sure about that specific bill, what i do know there is a strong feeling among my republican colleagues that we are giving china a pass. the paris accord allows them to continue their carbon emissions, increase their carbon emissions for the next 20 years. the very same people that want us to sign onto the paris accord tell us the world will fall apart before that happens. we have to look at answers that are tougher on china and find solutions that deal with not just china, but india and other countries who have large numbers of carbon emissions. host: how did you vote yesterday on the formation of this january 6 commission? guest: i voted against it. a couple weeks ago, i voted for it. i would like to see a commission. i do not think the answer is to
let speaker pelosi form one herself. there are questions unanswered. host: when you say the way that is going about on speaker pelosi, can you elaborate? guest: what we were voting on a few weeks ago had a shot of being bipartisan. there were suggestions on the senate side that would've enhanced it and made it better. i think it had a shot. we would have an equal number of republicans and democrats on the commission. as i understand, what speaker pelosi is putting together would have an 8-5 ratio. i do not think that would give the american people the answers. i am a fan of the commission, i supported it a couple weeks ago, but it has to be put together in a way that will give the american people the confidence that it is not just a partisan exercise. host: how much support should kevin mccarthy give to this
commission that was created yesterday? guest: i do not know the answer to that. it is a tough question. it will go on with or without him. to the extent he can influence it, i would love to see him do what he can to influence it but it is an impossible position to put him into say, come support this from the onset, you do not get an equal number of republicans. host: grand junction, colorado, republican. caller: hello, good morning to everybody. representative curtis, i have an item i heard a long time ago, it is called a catalytic converter. this is not an ordinary catalytic converter that does not do its job when you first start your vehicle. like the lady said, most people cannot afford electric cars. this catalytic converter was put up by nasa and it purifies the
air basically when it is cold and when it is at operating temperature. you might know about that, it is a little hard to find on the nasa site, but you can locate it, it can be used for industrial smokestacks, it can be used on diesel engines, gasoline engines. that might help in some respect if we can bring that to the forefront as far as a simple device that could be subsidized by the government to help people pay for it, change their catalytic converters out. guest: i am not familiar with it. you live in a beautiful part of our country. it is something i would love to take a look at. there is some amazing innovation out there, both ready to be discovered and ready to come to market. i think part of our solution has to be finding that innovation,
getting it to market and inspiring that innovation we do not have. most corporations that have committed to cut their carbon in half, and some completely, they all put an -- buy it. we are going out on a leap of faith. host: when it comes to the caucus' goals or desires, as you had a chance to approach house leadership to have these discussions? guest: response has been positive. we made sure we were not off causing a problem for the conference. they are very supportive. kevin mccarthy just formed a series of committees like the task force committees, and one of them is climate. i am serving on that. i think you will see in the upcoming days and months,
republicans being more aggressive with our message. host: from montana, great falls, peter is on our line for democrats. you are next. good morning. caller: good morning, congressman curtis. first off, i would like to congratulate you for your vote on the independent commission. the question i have for you is, does your caucus promote the eventual -- i say eventual -- elimination of fossil fuel energy production, that would include even natural gas? thank you. guest: thank you for your question. you can call me john. it does not. we said at the top of the hour, let me just say again, natural gas has been responsible for the most reduction in carbon of anything i know of.
we have reduced our carbon footprint in the united states by a dramatic level. we have done it by using natural gas. fossil fuels are part of the answer to reduce worldwide carbon. i know that is counterintuitive. something that is very important for people to remember is carbon itself is not bad. carbon in the air is bad. that is what we need to be talking about. how do we reduce the carbon in the air? i think there is a role for fossil fuels and i know that gives a lot of my colleagues on the left some heartburn, but it is just a facts. host: to what level do you think alternative fuels can replace what is provided by fossil fuels? guest: we need to be open-minded to that. when you say alternative -- host: wind, solar.
guest: it is an important part of the energy mix. the bottleneck is storage, and that is where we need innovation. we need to do a better job of storing wind and solar power. they will become a more dominant force in the mix. host: rick from providence, kentucky. independent line. good morning. caller: thank you, sir. this past winter, we had record snowfall, record cold, record ice storms, records that were set 100, or 150 years ago. 100 or 150 years ago, there were not millions of vehicles on the roads, thousands of airplanes across the skies day and night, there were no -- repeat, no -- coal fire plants. with that not going on 100 or
150 years ago, how were those records set if man is the cause? guest: people want to point to the extreme heat to the west as a sign of climates changing and we have to be careful here. single events are not an the climate is changing, but trends are. when we get a severe weather event, it is hard to know if it is the result of climate change or just severe weather. it is easy to point individual events. what we need to be doing is looking long term trends to really see what is going on with the weather. host: representative, a viewer tweets us, saying what is the u.s. have to teach china about climate change? china is far ahead of the u.s. all of their cars will be electric by 2030.
get real, he adds. guest: i want to be polite, but i think there needs to be a dose of realism all the way around. they produce a lot of electric vehicles and they charge those on coal fire plants. it is amazing the amount of carbon emissions not only coming out of china but increasing coming out of china. we are talking about smoke and mirrors if we look at their electronic vehicles as a signal they are somehow leading on this. they are certainly not. the evidence is clear on that. host: one more call from mike in maryland, republican line. caller: the premise is false from the beginning. you have to understand no oils or gasoline comes from fossil anything. when you start with this premise
that it comes from old plants or animals, it is a misconception we have to fix and science agrees with that. secondly, it is all pressure management and movement that creates energy, not this concept that you are pushing. if you understand that water can from of the workings of an engine, or you can use what comes from the explosion of water when it changes states, which stanford university supported when they saw water changes states and has an explosive effect, you really don't need to do anything but learn pressure. it is physics. host: we have to leave it there because we are running short on time. guest: i am going to leave it there. that one speaks for itself. host: republican john curtis, the chair of the washington jou. host: this is representative jim langevin, democrat from e