This week the House Select Committee on the Climate Crisis held a hearing highlighting private sector perspectives on the challenge of climate change. Largely influenced by the different climate plans being debated in Washington at the moment, especially the Clean Electricity Performance Program (CEPP), the hearing didn’t have any major surprises with individuals toeing the party line on strategies to address climate change. 

Representative Graves (R-MO) explained the major downsides of the CEPP: 

“When you look at the actual policies that are embedded in [climate plans like the CEPP], even independent reviews by congressional research services have found that this does not guarantee that we’ll be moving in the right direction but it does guarantee higher prices for all consumers….As we move forward, in the direction of clean energy future, we must do it in a way that is based on evidence.”

According to the Congressional Research Service, the CEPP would cost federal taxpayers an estimated $150 billion over 10 years. As Mark Menezes, the Former Deputy Secretary of Energy noted, “It’s quite possible the CEPP, if enacted as drafted, will make electricity less reliable, potentially increase costs to consumers, and not do much to improve the environment.” 

Witnesses in favor of the CEPP did little to support the case for a CEPP. They used hyperbolic phrases like “there is no business to be done on a dead planet,” and “this is the defining challenge of our era,” to push for a plan that would likely make our electricity less reliable while failing to reduce emissions in a meaningful way. 

One witness, Gilbert Campell, the founder and CEO of Volt Energy Utility, stated: “I hope we can view this [the climate crisis] as a red, white, and blue opportunity to lead on a global stage for the biggest issue facing our nation, and the world.” 

He’s right about one thing: The challenge of addressing climate change does provide the U.S. an opportunity to lead the world in providing effective and innovative solutions to reduce our carbon emissions. But a restrictive, renewables-only approach will fail to provide the change needed. Instead, we need to embrace energy sources like nuclear power and other cleaner energy sources that will enable us to provide reliable, cheap, carbon-free electricity to consumers while responsibly limiting emissions and making sustainable environmental progress.

At the end of the day, policymakers must recognize that American innovators have been providing creative solutions to our energy problems and creating mandates will hamper the creation of those solutions. If they want to really continue to reduce emissions, both domestically and abroad, they should follow a simple mantra: “Innovation over regulation.”