Have you ever been told that conservatives don’t care about the environment? That wanting to create a more environmentally friendly society is liberal? One group, the American Conservation Coalition, is working to fight against those assumptions. Their latest release, The American Climate Contract, is their answer to the Green New Deal. 

The American Climate Contract is a bold platform based on sound principles and real solutions. It lays out a clear vision to fully address climate change,” the group announced when they unveiled the plan. “The American Climate Contract will unleash America’s innovative spirit on one of the greatest challenges we face today. It will promote economic prosperity, American leadership, and environmental sustainability.”

“The American Climate Contract lays out a clear vision for success in the fight against climate change by focusing on four key policy areas: Energy Innovation, 21st Century Infrastructure, Natural Solutions, and Global Engagement,” Karly of ACC wrote in the press release.

You can read the full contract here, but the gist is that while things like the Green New Deal look to the government to solve all the climate issues by punishing the American people, the American Climate Contract looks at how we can be innovative and forward thinking in tackling climate issues.

Here are some of the highlights and proposals from the contract: 

  • Congress should identify inefficiencies and re-calibrate the investment of government funding to prioritize the advancement of affordable and exportable clean energy technologies that reduce global greenhouse gas emissions.

  • Developing smart grids will make it easier to transport energy efficiently, increase reliability, and reduce costs to the American public.

  • Prioritizing natural solutions like active forest management will also ensure that the United States is better prepared for natural disasters and extreme weather

  • By developing, promoting, and deploying technologies and resources to mitigate and adapt to the effects of climate change, the United States will be a leader and an example to the rest of the world.

I spoke with Karly, ACC’s communications director, about this new plan and how it will unfold in the months and years to come. 

Obviously, tackling climate change is not going to happen overnight. Karly said that “we lay out the 2050 net-zero carbon emissions goal, which is long-term, but there are definitely short-term measures of success as well. To get there, we have to have milestones along the way. In one year, we want to see members of Congress actively mentioning the Contract’s principles when introducing climate-focused legislation, which, of course, we want to see pass Congress and be signed by the president. We want to see first-time candidates referencing the American Climate Contract in their platforms. Our proposal is a framework for climate action, so we want to see elected officials on every level of government, as well as those in the private sector, really embrace its principles.”

On the contract’s website, ACC mentions several pending bills in Congress that would support the ideas and plans laid out in the contract. Some of those include The Energy Sector Innovation Credit Act, the Advanced Nuclear Availability Act, the USE IT Act, and more. 

Karly says that many of these bills have bipartisan support, such a rarity these days it can seem, but that the global pandemic will put them on the back-burner a bit. 

“The great thing about the bills that we identified that really fit into this framework is most, if not all, are backed by solid bipartisan coalitions,” Karly said. “Because COVID-19 has become the focus of Congress at the moment, I can’t really say which bills have the best chance at getting passed because any momentum any of them had has obviously been stymied. For instance, the Senate was going to work on an energy storage package, but any drive to get that passed has been redirected. I will say that ACC is really encouraged by the likes of these bills because they really contradict the overarching media narrative that Republicans don’t care about climate change and there’s no middle ground on climate action.”

You can pledge your support to the American Climate Contract here. 

Aryssa D
FFL Cabinet Member