A freshman House Republican known for his bill to abolish the Environmental Protection Agency and allegedly intimidating former Trump lawyer Michael Cohen is seeking a new claim to fame: the party's leading voice on addressing climate change.
Rep. Matt Gaetz of Florida on Wednesday unveiled the framework for his Green Real Deal, a rebuttal to the Green New Deal proposed by Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, a Democrat representing part of New York City.
The plan outlined by Gaetz calls for tackling climate change by trimming regulation, supporting clean energy innovation and addressing alleged Chinese intellectual property theft. In pitching the plan, the lawmaker issued a challenge to the many climate-change deniers in his party and Democrats such as Ocasio-Cortez who risk alienating moderate voters with ambitious proposals.
"History will judge harshly my Republican colleagues who deny the science of climate change," Gaetz said during a press conference. "Similarly those Democrats who would use climate change as a basis to regulate out of existence the American experience will face the harsh reality that their ideas will fail."
Gaetz's Green Real Deal — distinct from a plan of the same name proposed by former Energy Department officials — includes four major platforms to spur innovation.
First, it would expand efforts to protect U.S. intellectual property to prevent foreign countries, particularly China, from replicating and reproducing future American clean energy advancements.
The plan also calls for modernizing the U.S. electric grid to allow more renewable power to flow through the system. The final two pillars call for opening federal lands for renewable energy research and development and aligning policies and regulations to more quickly bring to market advanced nuclear reactors, carbon capture technology and hydropower projects.
Gaetz's proposal is one of several alternatives to the Green New Deal. It most closely aligns with a 10-point plan proposed by Republican Sen. Lamar Alexander of Tennessee. Positioned as a "new Manhattan Project for clean energy," Alexander's plan calls for ramping up research and development into new technologies.