The Republican Party approved its 2008 platform yesterday, which it hailed in a press release as containing “the most aggressive and innovative energy policy in Republican Party history.”
But the approved version differs significantly from earlier drafts in the climate and energy realm. This line, which appeared in an earlier draft, was dropped: “Increased atmospheric carbon has a warming effect on the earth.” While the final acknowledges the role of humans in climate change, it calls for solutions that won’t “force Americans to sacrifice their way of life or trim their hopes and dreams for their children.” At points the platform appears dismissive of climate change.
“Republicans caution against the doomsday climate change scenarios peddled by the aficionados of centralized command-and-control government,” it says. “We can — and should — address the risk of climate change based on sound science without succumbing to the no-growth radicalism that treats climate questions as dogma rather than as situations to be managed responsibly.”
The platform suggests that there should be no carbon constraints on the U.S. unless China or India face similar limits: “It would be unrealistic and counterproductive to expect the U.S. to carry burdens which are more appropriately shared by all.”
It also calls for a repeal of the biofuels mandate that passed as part of the 2007 energy bill; that provision mandates a fivefold increase in biofuels in the U.S. fuel stream by 2022. “The U.S. government should end mandates for ethanol and let the free market work,” the platform reads.
The mandate was supported by the Bush administration, but has become unpopular with congressional Republicans of late.
Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), chair of the platform committee, celebrated his party’s platform process. “This platform is the product of the most open and transparent process in American political history,” McCarthy said. “Indeed, we are a Party — as we are a nation — of mavericks. Yet we stand united today because we are the one Party that speaks to all Americans.”
Here’s the climate-change section:
Addressing Climate Change Responsibly
The same human economic activity that has brought freedom and opportunity to billions has also increased the amount of carbon in the atmosphere. While the scope and long-term consequences of this are the subject of ongoing scientific research, common sense dictates that the United States should take measured and reasonable steps today to reduce any impact on the environment. Those steps, if consistent with our global competitiveness will also be good for our national security, our energy independence, and our economy. Any policies should be global in nature, based on sound science and technology, and should not harm the economy.
The Solution: Technology and the Market
As part of a global climate change strategy, Republicans support technology-driven, market based solutions that will decrease emissions, reduce excess greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, increase energy efficiency, mitigate the impact of climate change where it occurs, and maximize any ancillary benefits climate change might offer for the economy. To reduce emissions in the short run, we will rely upon the power of new technologies, as discussed above, especially zero-emission energy sources such as nuclear and other alternate power sources. But innovation must not be hamstrung by Washington bickering, regulatory briar patches, or obstructionist lawsuits. Empowering Washington will only lead to unintended consequences and unimagined economic and environmental pain; instead, we must unleash the power of scientific knowhow and competitive markets.
Because the issue of climate change is global, it must become a truly global concern as well. All developed and developing economies, particularly India and China, can make significant contributions in dealing with the matter. It would be unrealistic and counterproductive to expect the U.S. to carry burdens which are more appropriately shared by all.
Using Cash Rewards to Encourage Innovation
Because Republicans believe that solutions to the risk of global climate change will be found in the ingenuity of the American people, we propose a Climate Prize for scientists who solve the challenges of climate change. Honoraria of many millions of dollars would be a small price for technological developments that eliminate our need for gas-powered cars or abate atmospheric carbon.
Doing No Harm
Republicans caution against the doomsday climate change scenarios peddled by the aficionados of centralized command-and-control government. We can — and should — address the risk of climate change based on sound science without succumbing to the no-growth radicalism that treats climate questions as dogma rather than as situations to be managed responsibly.
A robust economy will be essential to dealing with the risk of climate change, and we will insist on reasonable policies that do not force Americans to sacrifice their way of life or trim their hopes and dreams for their children. This perspective serves not only the people of the United States but also the world’s poorest peoples, who would suffer terribly if climate change is severe — just as they would if the world economy itself were to be crippled. We must not allow either outcome.