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Will the GOP go along with the COP26 pact?

The Republican delegation went to COP26 with a clear message: both parties recognize the need to fight climate change. But did world leaders take them seriously? And how will Republican leaders sell that pivot to Republican voters? Fresh off his trip to Glasgow, Scotland, Rep. Garret Graves, a Louisiana Republican, spoke with POLITICO’s Ryan Heath. He shares — if not a commitment to the Build Back Better plan — his ideas on turning climate pledges into climate action.

About how Republicans and Democrats share more than they might think on climate policy

“If I go into a very liberal room, and I may go in there and start talking about how we need to improve the competitiveness of U.S. companies on a global scale, I may get a little bit of interest. But if I say those same words in a more conservative Republican room, I think you’re going to get a lot more attention. The thing is that you can be talking about the same damn thing, but you can talk about it different ways.” — Rep. Garret Graves (R-La.), ranking member on the House Select Committee on the Climate Crisis

On the limitations of COPs

“What happens if you go back to your employer and you submit something and they say, ‘Well, this isn’t quite right,’ and you come back a second time or third time, a fourth time, a 25th time? At some point, I’m going to take a guess that your employer is going to be like, ‘You know what? I think you may be in the wrong field.’ And this was the 26th COP and emissions are still going up.”

On whether exceptions should be made for developing countries, like China

“They’re spending trillions of dollars on their military in their Belt and Road Initiative. I have no sympathy for them being a developing country…they simply don’t fit the criteria and they’re being allowed to get a free pass as a result of this label that they’ve adopted. That just doesn’t fit.”

On the Biden administration’s climate plan

“How easy is it for the president right now to make commitments for decades out? I think that candidly, it lacks integrity, especially when the administration cannot even provide a technological roadmap on how you’re going to get there…. I think that you’ve got to have a technologically informed pathway. You can’t go out there and say, ‘I’m going to use fairy dust and unicorn pee and we’re going to get to net zero emissions.’ We’ve got to talk about the technologies that are there now, what are the impediments or the opportunities?”

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