Wednesday, September 06, 2017

How Do You Shift Republicans On Climate?  Be Nice.

An episode of the documentary series "Years of Living Dangerously," which focuses on global warming, features Rep. Lee Zeldin (R-N.Y.) meeting with climate activists. (Credit: National Geographic/YouTube) Click to Enlarge.
Since the Climate Solutions Caucus' inception in 2016, CCL and others have had unprecedented success pushing Republican representatives to join.  The grass-roots advocacy organization is angling for the caucus to take up a carbon fee and dividend approach to curb emissions.

While members of the "Noah's Ark" group, which adds Republicans and Democrats in pairs, have co-sponsored a number of climate-related bills, like renewable energy tax credits, they have yet to broach a carbon tax.  Still, activists are encouraged by growing membership, which reached 52 this summer (E&E Daily, Aug. 3).

Through the combination of respect; building relationships; and consistent reminders through letters, visits and calls, advocates are successfully, albeit slowly, moving Republicans on climate action.
Changing tides
Almost a decade ago, Jay Butera, CCL's top congressional liaison, left his life as a successful entrepreneur to volunteer his time and resources with CCL.
Butera said the tides are turning.  As voter sentiment changes and more Americans demand climate action, inaction could cost GOP members their seats.

He speculated that [Rep. Carlos Curbelo of Florida, the Republican co-founder of the climate caucus] and Rep. Patrick Meehan (R-Pa.) may have secured their positions in the last election because they are active on climate.

And the traditional division across party lines over environmental issues continues to blur.  In the 2016 race, EDF Action, the political arm of the Environmental Defense Fund, gave money to Curbelo's campaign and released an ad that highlighted his work protecting the Everglades.
Curbelo said for the caucus to accomplish its mission, it has to move at the pace of its members.  He said he hopes in the next year they can become a "proactive force" for climate policy and legislation but that his members are not ready to support, for example, a carbon tax yet.

"I'm never going to get out ahead of the caucus," he said.  "For this to work it has to be member-driven, it has to develop organically, and if an idea like that comes out of the caucus it's because the caucus has reached a general consensus, but I don't think we are close to [a carbon tax] yet."

Read more at How Do You Shift Republicans On Climate?  Be Nice.

No comments:

Post a Comment