by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
House Republicans have convinced their most conservative members to support a forthcoming plan for the federal government to address climate change.
Republicans have long been skeptical of federal efforts to curb climate change. But now, even conservative Republicans are embracing a “clean energy innovation” legislative agenda, primed for release this spring and advanced by Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy and his top energy and climate lieutenants.
“Climate denial is a bad political strategy,” said Florida Rep. Matt Gaetz, a 37-year-old member of the conservative House Freedom Caucus and an ally of President Trump. “At some point, you have to be for something to fix it.”
Republicans, alarmed by polling showing vulnerability among young and suburban voters, sidelined the most strident and skeptical conservative outside groups to recognize climate change as an urgent problem requiring a response to the liberal “Green New Deal,” according to more than a dozen Republican representatives and others familiar with congressional GOP plans.
The major themes of the pending agenda are capturing carbon dioxide (through technology and planting trees), curbing plastic waste, exporting natural gas, and promoting “resilience” or adaptation to sea-level rise and other effects of climate change.