Combating climate change is often viewed as a progressive fight. But in the last decade, interest in clean energy has grown across the political spectrum. The Green New Deal is the most well-known climate proposal but there are many other initiatives that will actually make a greater difference. And these policies aren’t just being pursued by liberals—conservatives on the hill and throughout the country are leading the way in pushing these more realistic alternatives. 

The root of “conservatism” is to conserve and preserve. It’s in our nature to create a cleaner and more reliable energy sector—one that would improve the environment, the economy, and our national security. Conservatives support market-based solutions that promote a wide array of clean energy technologies, instead of zeroing in on the “renewables-only” approach so popular with many climate activists. 

Proponents of the “renewables-only” approach argue that we must only use renewable energy, such as wind and solar power, to combat climate change. But clean energy provides a much more feasible alternative by encompassing a wider range of energy sources. 

The Difference Between Renewable and Clean Energy

We all want clean air and water. How we get there shouldn’t matter. Renewable energy refers to energy sources that come from natural resources such as wind and sunlight. They are called “renewable” because the energy source is not depleted when used. For example, just because sunlight is being converted into electricity in a solar panel does not mean that there is any less sunlight available. While renewable energy sources are more sustainable in some ways, they present their own difficulties because they depend on factors outside of our control—we can’t make the sun shine or the wind blow. 

Clean energy, in contrast, includes a broad range of energy sources, with hydroelectric dams and nuclear power plants among the most promising. These two sources alone produce 70 percent of America’s zero-emission electricity and have the potential to play an even greater role in the future. 

In honor of Clean Energy Week, we’re diving into different sources of clean energy, from nuclear power to renewables and natural gas, to help you better understand how each one can help in the fight against climate change. In order to reduce global emissions, it is imperative that we use every tool at our disposal.