A group of young Republicans at the annual Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) advised attendees Thursday to take the lead on climate change — or else watch Democrats enact new rules of the road.
The anti-carbon panel conducted by the Young Conservatives for Carbon Dividend aimed to encourage Republicans to coalesce on capitalism-based solutions for global warming.
“The Green New Deal is the worst of the solutions that I could’ve imagined,” Young Conservatives founder Kiera O’Brien said, referring to the climate change plan proffered by progressive Democrats. “But I wasn’t as active an engaged on the right-wing side until [it was proposed].”
The Young Conservatives for Carbon Dividend supports “market-driven” solution proposed by former Reagan administration officials James A. Baker III and George P. Schultz. The group said the Baker-Schultz carbon dividends plan would contain regulatory teeth for companies domestic and abroad, unlike the Paris Climate Agreement.
Republican strategist Joe Pinion III said the young people are worth listening to.
“When it comes to climate … power abhors a vacuum, and numbers are the same in every language,” Mr. Pinion said. “If we’re going to ignore that fact that we have young people who care passionately about climate … we’re going to miss the ball.”
A Pew Research Center survey in November found that 39% of Republicans say the federal government is “not doing enough” to protect the environment. But more than 50% of millennials and young conservatives share that belief.
James Taylor, a senior fellow with the Heartland Institute, a public policy think tank in Illinois, said Friday’s CPAC speech by Naomi Seibt will mark the American debut of the 19-year-old German self-proclaimed “climate realist.”
Invited to speak by Heartland, Ms. Seibt is known as the “anti-Greta” to her supporters, the antithesis of the Swedish teenage climate activist Greta Thunberg, Mr. Taylor said, adding that she will throw cold water on climate alarmism.
“I think that the media has a tendency to promote leftist agendas … [especially] if you have someone like Greta that speaks for an entire generation,” Mr. Taylor said. “Clearly, she doesn’t.”
He said the presence of speakers such as Ms. Seibt in the public discourse more accurately reflects the range of viewpoints among young people on climate change. He noted that the United Nations’ own climate reports suggest evidence has not yet shown a direct link between climate variations and natural disasters.
“It’s a false underlying narrative that we’re facing a climate crisis,” Mr. Taylor said.
Pete Seat, a former George W. Bush administration official, said Thursday that he doesn’t buy wild-eyed predictions that the Earth’s residents will perish in a dozen years because of increasing severe weather — but he does have a political death on his mind.
“The party is going through something of a reckoning,” Mr. Seat said. “If we don’t start talking about this, the Republican Party will die in 12 years.”
Republicans in the House and the Senate have begun talking about right-wing approaches to addressing a climate-related problems. Sen. Mike Braun of Indiana formed the bipartisan Climate Solutions Caucus in October. And House
Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy of California has made narrow proposals, including a tax credit for carbon capture technology.