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By Chris White
Various conservative groups are ramping up efforts to promote what they call “free enterprise” policies to wrestle the climate change warrior title from Democrats.
GOP-affiliated groups, such as ConservAmerica and republicEn, are doubling efforts to recruit Republican lawmakers to work on rebutting President Donald Trump’s climate skepticism. They are also hoping to hijack the Democrats’ traditional stranglehold on the environmental movement.
Their primary goal is to use what they believe are free market solutions to so-called man-made global warming to entice Republican colleagues to jump aboard the environmental movement.
“Conservatives now have a chance to earn back the trust of Americans on environmental issues,” Alex Bozmoski, an adviser with republicEn, told reporters Monday. “They can lead in a completely different direction that actually grows the economy while cutting greenhouse gasses.”
Their fledgling crusade hasn’t gained much support so far from Republicans on Capitol Hill. A mere 20 or so of the 237 Republican congressmen have made tough talk against climate change a part of their rhetorical repertoire.
Still, the conservative push has gained attention from environmentalist groups such as the Sierra Club, which is widely considered unrelentingly antagonistic to private industry.
Melinda Pierce, a legislative director for the group, said she was happy to see “enlightened Republicans” making a push to fight so-called man-made global warming, but is also wary of their supposed free enterprise solutions, which she believes sounded to her like “we have to pay them not to pollute.”
This small coalition of the conservatives and liberal environmentalist groups have a long road to hoe, especially after Trump submitted his budget proposal last week, which included a request to ratchet down federally-funded climate research.
ConserveAmerica and republicEn’s mission comes on the heels of the Climate Leadership Council proposal in February to roll back federal regulations in exchange for a carbon tax starting at $40 per ton that increases over time.
The council claimed the proposal would reduce greenhouse gasses they believe cause global warming, while at the same time spurring green energy and limit the government’s heavy-handed regulatory role in the environment.