House Republicans announced on Thursday they will send a five-strong delegation to next week's United Nations climate conference as they try to overturn misconceptions that conservatives oppose efforts to tackle climate change.
It will be the first time a conservative-only delegation attends the annual gathering of leaders and activists.
The delegation will be led by Rep. Garrett Graves, ranking member on the House Select Climate Committee, and include Reps. Dan Crenshaw, David McKinley, Mariannette Miller-Meeks and John Curtis, chairman of the Conservative Climate Caucus.
Their itinerary in Glasgow, Scotland, includes meeting conservatives from around the world and a visit to a company pioneering efforts to match clean energy with demand.
Graves said it was an opportunity to ensure the international community heard all perspectives from the United States.
'At a time when American families are worried about soaring energy costs and the Biden administration is begging foreign governments to bail us out, Republicans want to bring better and proven solutions to the table that will result in lower global emissions and costs for consumers without undermining the economy or increasing reliance on known American adversaries,' he said.
'We look forward to constructively engaging key stakeholders and discussing evidence-based strategies to chart America’s clean energy future.'
Rep. Garrett Graves, ranking member on the House Select Climate Committee, will lead a five-strong Republican delegation to the COP26 climate talks in Glasgow, Scotland
Rep. John Curtis, chairman of the Conservative Climate Caucus, and Rep. Mariannette Miller-Meeks will be part of the team flying to Glasgow on Nov. 6
Rep. Dan Crenshaw and Rep. David McKinley will be in Scotland for four days, meeting with conservatives, business leaders and industry figures as they push for climate change solutions that don't compromise jobs, the economy or U.S. energy independence
World leaders are due to arrive in Glasgow on Sunday for the annual United Nations Conference of the Parties.
It is the 26th time it has been held, making this event COP26.
The aim is to agree measures to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to keep the global temperature from rising more than 1.5 degrees Celsius.
Some 20,000 people will attend talks, including government representatives, scientists and policy experts.
Although Republicans have attended before, this is the first time that the House caucus has sent a delegation.
They are due to arrive on Nov. 6 for a four-day visit.
Their trip comes at a time when many of the Republican Party's loudest voices rail against efforts to tackle climate change as anti-business.
Yet Republican attitudes are more complicated. A recent Pew Research Center survey found that a majority of Republicans said they would support tougher action on climate change, including stricter standards for car emissions and planting more trees.
Some 20,000 government representatives, scientists and policy experts are expected at the talks in Glasgow, Scotland, which will last for almost two weeks
The aim of the conference is to agree measures to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to keep the global temperature from rising more than 1.5 degrees Celsius
'It's not that conservatives don't care about this issue. It's just that I think we have often kind of decided what we're against more than maybe vocalising what we are for,' said a source involved in planning the trip.
They point to recent data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration showing that the amount of electricity produced from coal will increase in 2021 for the first time in even years as evidence that new approaches are needed.
A narrowminded focus on reducing energy production from coal, rather than considering the whole energy mix, meant that surging gas prices had undone efforts to tackle emissions, they argue.
'There’s a false choice peddled by the left: choose between reducing emissions or affordable, reliable energy that powers our economy,' said Rep. Crenshaw.
'Republicans have proposed solutions that represent rational environmentalism over radical environmentalism, solutions that will actually lower emissions without sacrificing jobs, reliable power, and our energy independence.
'We’re going to COP26 to advocate for those solutions.'
Crenshaw is an outspoken supporter of nuclear power, an option that has fallen out of favor in the U.S. but which has backing among environmentalists elsewhere.
This trip has been organized by the Conservative Climate Foundation, a 501c3 nonprofit created by the Citizens for Responsible Energy Solutions Forum and ClearPath.
And one of the highlights will be a visit to a facility that aims to bridge the gap between intermittent renewable energy production and consumer demand. Flexitricity's control room steps in to supply stored energy when expected demand exceeds production - one of the frequent concerns of critics of power supplied by wind or water.
'Republicans care deeply about the environment and preserving it for future generations,' said Rep. Curtis.
'We have ideas, and we want to be at the table to find solutions. Climate change is a global problem and American innovation is leading in the development of affordable and reliable clean energy technologies.
'While I, and my Republican colleagues, attend the conference we will show our global partners that we are serious about climate solutions and that we have policy ideas that reduce emissions, not just increase costs to consumers.'