Young Republicans push party to act on climate change – By Elvina Nawaguna (Roll Call) / Feb 13 2020
Party leadership is taking heed, releasing a series of modest climate-related bills.
Young Republicans, facing a future with more extreme weather events, wildfires, rising sea levels, famine and other repercussions of a warmer planet, have been knocking on their lawmakers’ doors with a message that many in the party have preferred to ignore: It’s time to get serious about fighting climate change.
The party leadership, aware of polling that shows the GOP out of step with its young voters, is taking heed.
On Wednesday at a news conference led by Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., House Republicans released the first few in what is expected to be a series of modest climate-related bills that they hope will demonstrate the party can acknowledge and act on climate change.
The measures include three bills to bolster research and use of carbon capture technology and to codify President Donald Trump’s decision to have the U.S. join the United Nation’s Trillion Trees Initiative.
“I think that young Republicans have made this happen,” Quillan Robinson, government affairs director at the youth-driven climate group American Conservation Coalition, said of the bills. “We’ve been meeting with offices for the last six months relentlessly on this issue.”
His group led about 50 college students to 28 GOP offices over the summer. Other groups such as the Citizens Climate Lobby have also taken young voters to coax lawmakers of both parties to act more urgently on climate change.
“I’m not going to say that climate change is the make-or-break issue in 2020,” Robinson said, “but particularly among young people, the negative perception around the Republican Party on environmental issues in general and on climate change specifically has been detrimental to the party in attracting, not just young voters, but suburban voters and women.”
The lawmakers had planned to release their climate plans after the Democrats running the House Select Committee on the Climate Crisis unveiled their recommendations, which are due by the end of March. But the Republicans decided to fast-track their message as Democrats on other committees kept releasing “confusing” climate plans, said Rep. Garret Graves, R-La., ranking member of the select committee.