TURES COLUMN: Reducing hot air in Washington state and DC

Published 8:30 am Saturday, July 17, 2021

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A catastrophic event killed 600 people out West at the end of June. It wasn’t a terror attack, mass shooting, or a typhoon. It was a killer heat wave of historic proportions, with triple-digit temperatures reaching 130 degrees in places. That’s the bad news. The good news is that there is a bipartisan solution to such deadly heat domes, which threaten those with diabetes, hypertension, and high cholesterol, as well as fuel fires and the rolling blackouts that follow.

Heat is a killer. I was surprised to learn that such heat waves cost more Americans their lives over the last decade than any other event, from either floods and rip currents, to storms like tornadoes and hurricanes, annually.

And it could get worse. An international team of climate scientists has found that such events, normally occurring once in 1,000 years, could soon be once every 5-10 years, at current trends. Higher death rates, higher fuel prices, and higher air conditioning bills, will certainly follow.

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But there is hope. Normally, this is an issue that the Democrats would demand a solution, and Republicans would run away for an early Summer recess. But the political climate, not just the natural climate, is changing, as GOP members form caucuses like the Conservative Climate Caucus that address climate change, and clean energy.

Just a few years ago, I was able to co-sponsor a campus event for “Conservatives for Clean Energy,” (CCE) chaired by ex-Rep. Lynn Westmoreland, a Republican with a near perfect conservative voting record (if not perfect). Other members came from the state legislature and the Public Service Commission. One of LaGrange College’s graduates organized the event.

“Georgia conservatives have helped to lead the conversation when it comes to clean and renewable energy,” wrote CCE Executive Director Theresa Garcia Robertson in an email to me.  “The all-conservative Georgia PSC has enough solar in our Integrated Resource Plan to make Georgia 4th in solar production by 2024. Governor Kemp and First Lady Marty Kemp have been huge supporters along with Commissioner Pat Wilson for more economic development through solar production and battery facilities. I am convinced PSC Commissioners Bubba McDonald and Jason Shaw won statewide elections last year, in part, due to their support for clean energy. 

This new development at the Congressional level can only propel us even further. Republican Congressman Buddy Carter gave an interview last month on how real the change in climate is to his district on the coast. It is only a matter of time before more jump on board as evidenced with the latest addition of our own 3rd Congressional District Representative, Drew Ferguson. The changing climate is real and our economy depends on conservative climate solutions.”

It can’t happen soon enough. Even though Republicans generally support clean energy, renewables falsely took a beating during the Texas winter storm.

Those generators powered by renewable energy failed not because they used renewables, but because some in the state decided to “save money” and chose not to winterize them. That’s why other states and countries, which run on such renewables, have not had such problems, and generally avoided blackouts. The GOP badly needs to counter such propaganda. The Conservative Climate Caucus can do just that, and maybe some misleading arguments about climate change.

Despite some slipping numbers due to the recent disinformation about renewables, strong majorities of Republicans support solar power and wind power. And such numbers are reportedly stronger among young conservatives, the future of the party. With Conservatives for Clean Energy, the Conservative Climate Caucus, and the Republican Roosevelt Conservation Caucus, lowering the actual temperature, and maybe the political temperature as well.