Speed Reads

If you can't take the heat...

House Republicans dipped their toes in the climate crisis just as the Pacific Northwest boiled over

Last week, Rep. John Curtis (R-Utah) and 51 other House Republicans formed a Conservative Climate Caucus, "a place for Republicans to advance serious climate solutions," Curtis said, but not "leave their conservative values at the door." Three Republicans from the Pacific Northwest — Reps. Cliff Bentz (Ore.), Dan Newhouse (Wash.), and Cathy McMorris Rodgers (Wash.) — joined the caucus. "Then they went silent as a devastating heat wave hit the region," Politico reports.

Portland hit a record 116 degrees, causing power cables and vinyl siding to melt, while Seattle reached 108 and parts of British Columbia hit a mind-blowing 121 degrees, a new Canadian record. Dozens of deaths have been attributed to the heat. "Anybody ever believe you'd turn on the news and see it's 116 degrees in Portland, Oregon? 116 degrees," President Biden said in Wisconsin on Tuesday. "But don't worry — there is no global warming because it's just a figment of our imaginations."

In Spokane, the center of McMorris Rodgers' district, temperatures hit a record 109 degrees on Tuesday and the local power company had to implement rolling blackouts. 

Bentz, Newhouse, and McMorris Rodgers "have been largely invisible" as the lingering heat dome smothers the Pacific Northwest, a manifestation of "a warming climate that scientists say will only become more common in the future," Politico reports. McMorris Rodgers slammed the "left's 'rush to green' agenda" on Tuesday, and a spokesman told Politico the congresswoman believes the solution to "climate change risks" is "innovation in a wide range of energy solution," including "hydropower, nuclear, and natural gas." Bentz and Newhouse declined to comment.

"Conservatives are learning to think differently about climate change but they don't yet know what to think" and aren't "yet comfortable with the scale of the policy needed to address climate change," Alex Flint at the conservative Alliance for Market Solutions told Politico. "They see the evidence, they acknowledge the reality, but they don't want to embrace progressives' climate policies because everything in Washington is political."

Curtis told NPR News on Saturday that serious climate solutions must focus on changing China and India, "and as far as individual responsibility, I think it's a huge mistake to just look to government to go solve this. I think every individual bears some responsibility in this. Whether it's carpooling or whether it's changing to LED bulbs or eliminating a vehicle trip per day, we can all play a role in this."