As conservatives, it can be difficult to break through the noise on climate issues with progressives like Bernie Sanders and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez usually dominating the national conversation. It is vital that we do not allow our voices to be drowned out and instead participate in policy discussions that promote pro-market initiatives in reducing our emissions and responding to climate change. Without conservative voices, we’re ceding the debate to heavy-handed government intervention.

Instead, we should be allowing the market to work. Innovation in the field, along with investment and production tax credits, have allowed private investment to thrive and the public to benefit. Through these mechanisms, the deployment of renewable energies, like wind energy, is more marketable than ever before. Wind energy produces about 7% of the nation’s energy, but produces double that percentage here in Nebraska.

Since taking office in 2017, Rep. Bacon has been a passionate supporter of wind energy in eastern Nebraska. We both understand the need to incentivize innovation and development without imposing burdensome regulations on renewable energy producers. In late 2019, Bacon co-sponsored the Wind Energy Research and Development Act with bipartisan colleagues for this very reason.

Progress toward clean energy in this country did not occur because of heavy-handed government intervention. Clean energy has largely become more competitive because of new developments in the field, fueled by the private sector. That is why we support the American Climate Contract, a market-based plan to reduce carbon emissions and fight climate change.

To strengthen the energy security of the United States, we must be a leader in developing innovative technology that reduces greenhouse gas emissions and encourages an all-of-the-above energy plan. For far too long, we have relied on fossil fuels from countries like Saudi Arabia and Russia. Instead, we should be promoting sources such as solar, wind, geothermal and hydropower that enable the United States to become more energy independent, leading to a more prosperous economy, a more secure country and a healthier planet.

The Contract promotes clean energy innovation through free markets and public-private partnerships. It, of course, promotes the further development of clean energy, but also incorporates better land management, restoring forests, upgrading our infrastructure and carbon capture technology as mechanisms to fight climate change. After all, climate change is a nuanced challenge that requires specific, targeted solutions.

To be a leader in tackling climate change, we have to be bold, but also realistic. Ambitious goals sound good, but we have to have concrete plans in place to achieve those goals. The Contract paves the way to do just that as carbon capture technologies can play a prominent role in our cleaner future.

Together with grassroots organizations like the American Conservation Coalition and young Americans who care about the environment, we can promote policies that create jobs, strengthen our energy security and provide local, long-term economic benefits for communities like Omaha.

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