By Tyler Gillette
Do you ever find yourself not agreeing with other individuals when it comes to the environment or climate change? Do you feel like everyone thinks that just because you support the environment you have to be a liberal? Do you think that environmental issues are bipartisan? There are some republicans that agree. You can be a republican and an environmentalist by supporting the EcoRight.
When it comes to the environment, the Republican Party has received a lot of criticism. In a time when the nation seems very polar and partisan on environmental issues, there are conservatives who also support the environment and believe in climate change. These conservatives fall into this newer group called the “EcoRight.” Many of these groups are new and are fueled by college republicans and millennials. They work with other republican groups on campuses and other places, and they believe in conservation efforts and protecting natural resources. This is based on the idea that “conservation is conservative.” The EcoRight wants clean air, water and other resources now and for future generations. They support environmental stewardship and believe that environmental concerns are bipartisan issues that we all need to come to an agreement on since it affects all of us. They also believe that a free-market approach and limited government intervention is the way to handle many environmental issues. There are many current representatives and senators who endorse and are parts of these groups. Many Republican presidents are used as idols and founders.
Conservative Inspiration Conservation Leaders
The EcoRight’s biggest inspiration is Theodore Roosevelt who had a passion for conserving America’s resources. He believed that “There is can no greater issue than that of conservation in this country (America).” He also created five National Parks, and signed the 1906 Antiquities Act, under which he proclaimed 18 new U.S. National Monuments, and created the United States Forest Service (CRS). The EcoRight is also inspired by other presidents with conservationist ideals such as Ronald Reagan. Reagan signed 43 wilderness bills into law, which created 10.6 million acres and helped ratify one of the most successful environmental regulation globally, the Montreal Protocol, which phased out CFCs that were harmful to the ozone layer (CRS). He believed that, “What is a conservative after all but one who conserves…our countryside, our rivers, and mountains, our plains and meadows and forests.” Gerald R. Ford is another inspiration. He helped the U.S adopt fuel efficiency standards, created 18 national parks and created 3.4 million acres of wilderness (CRS).According to Gerald R. Ford, “We have too long treated the natural world as an adversary rather than as a life-sustaining gift from the Almighty. If man has the genius to build, which he has, he must also have the ability and the responsibility to preserve.” Dwight D. Eisenhower. Dwight D. Eisenhower protected the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge and C&O National Historic Park (CRS).He said, “As we peer into society’s future, we – you and I, and our government – must avoid the impulse to live only for today, plundering for, for our own ease and convenience, the precious resources of tomorrow. We cannot mortgage the material assets of our grandchildren without risking the loss also of their political and spiritual heritage.” Lastly, Richard Nixon created the Environmental Protection Agency and signed the Clean Air Act (CRS). He once said, “Nothing is more priceless and more worthy of preservation than the rich array of animal life with which our country has been blessed.”
The Solution: Free-Market Approach\Carbon-Tax
One of the best and most promising conservative solutions to climate change was created by the Climate Leadership Council. This plan encourages bipartisanism, helps the economy, and protects the environment. It is a carbon dividend solution which uses the conservative ideas of free market and limited government. It is based on a gradually rising and revenue-neutral carbon tax, payments to all Americans from the revenue, eliminating unnecessary carbon regulations and adjusting border carbon to create fairness and promote competition. This plan can reduce emissions more than any other climate regulations and will help American businesses, the environment, jobs, competition, and national security. Tax rates will increase until emission goals are met. The carbon dividends makes this a popular solution since it incentivizes the economy and puts money in Americans hands. According to the CLC’s poll, 64% of Americans favor this plan, including 54% of conservative Republicans.This plan will also encourage technological innovation and the shifting of energy and transportation infrastructures. This approach is endorsed by companies like BP, ExxonMobil, GM, Johnson and Johnson, Procter and Gamble, Pepsico, Santander, Schneider Electric, Shell, and Unilever. NGOS like Nature Conservancy and Conservation International also endorse it. Famous economists, and business leaders, and scientists endorse it such as Stephen Hawking, Rob Walton, Laurene Powell Jobs, and Michael Bloomberg (Climate Leadership Council).
Here is a list of EcoRight groups and a brief description for you to check out:
- Conservatives for Responsible Stewardship: Encourages that environmental stewardship and natural resource conservation is conservative. They support fiscally responsible and economically sound solutions.
- ConservAmerica: Educates the public and officials on market-based approaches to environmental challenges. They believe that preservation is not partisan.
- Climate Leadership Council: A collaboration of business leaders and environmental leaders to promote a carbon dividends program as a solution to climate change.
- Citizens’ Climate Lobby: A non-partisan group focused on national policies to address climate change. It aims to create climate action based on shared values.
- Citizens For Responsible Energy Solutions: Promotes conservative solutions to address energy issues while preserving our environment.
- Conservatives for Environmental Reform (CFER USA): Promotes conservative approaches to environmental protection and reform for water shortages, farming, alternative energy, parks and carbon pricing.
- American Conservation Coalition: Promotes conservative conservation, stewardship and free-market ideals. Works with conservative collegiate groups like College Republicans, Turning Point USA, Young Americans for Liberty, Young Americans for Freedom and others.
- republicEn: Educates the country about free-enterprise solutions to climate change.
- Young Conservatives For Energy Reform: Brings young, socially conservative leaders together to influence energy reform. Focuses on national security, economic growth, energy independence and clean energy.
- Clear Path Action Fund: Helps to elect endorsed Republicans who offer real solutions to the conservative clean energy agenda.
- Conservative Energy Network: Supports state-based conservative clean energy and energy efficiency organizations throughout the nation. Promotes clean energy solutions that create jobs, spark innovation, conserve our resources and protect our energy grid and national security.
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