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Why Liberal Partisans Resent the Conservative Climate Caucus

In battle, the surest way to know you’re over the target is when you start taking heavy flak. Kate Aronoff’s angry piece in the New Republic “The Conservative Climate Caucus is Nonsense” shows that the House Conservative Climate Caucus is exactly where it needs to be. 

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What triggered Aronoff were recent pieces in the Wall Street Journal and Politico chronicling the rise of the 80-plus caucus that is helping Republicans find their voice on an issue that has confounded them for 30 years. Led by U.S. Representative John Curtis (R-UT), the caucus represents an existential threat to the left’s climate monopoly. 

Partisans on the left are panicking because the caucus is appealing to younger voters who want climate solutions that aren’t backed by people who throw soup on paintings, glue themselves to roads, and define success by calling Senators “sick fu&#s.” 

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As the Wall Street Journal piece reported, “Younger conservatives are particularly concerned; two-thirds of Republicans between the ages of 18 and 29 believe the U.S. should take steps to achieve the goal set by the Biden administration of becoming carbon neutral by 2050, according to a 2022 Pew Research Center survey.”

If making a pitch to younger voters wasn’t enough to cause partisan hacks on the left to lose their minds, the caucus’ decision to think and act independently of Trump is just too much. 

As Curtis told Politico, “We’re not dependent on a standard-bearer outside of the House … I don’t think it’s a surprise to anybody that charting the course as a Republican to talk about climate has never been easy, and so if there are headwinds, we’ll keep pushing forward.”

The caucus isn’t looking to pick a fight with Trump, but their success and vision also don’t conform to the left’s favorite narrative that the GOP has been completely taken over “climate change is a hoax” Trumpism. If Trump wants success to be his revenge (and pass legislation), he may well consider what the caucus thinks about policy. 

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Absent in Aronoff’s piece was any mention of policies in our Climate and Freedom Agenda the caucus’s members tend to support like permitting reform, the incredible promise of next-generation nuclear technology, carbon capture, natural solutions, tax reform, reforms to the Department of Energy that will spur innovation, and more. 

Aronoff also didn’t challenge our thesis, which is widely accepted by the caucus, that if you want to prove you’re serious about climate solutions, economic freedom is the answer. As we’ve shown, free economies are twice as less free economies. Partisan hackery, ad hominin attacks and insinuating caucus members are shills to “fossil fuel interests” does nothing to disprove our thesis which is backed not just by science but economics. 

The left’s “everything but fossil fuels” strategy is out of step with science, reality and younger voters who know that an “all of the above strategy” is more likely to lower emissions while lifting people out of poverty. Aronoff says nothing about the tradeoffs involved with shutting down American fossil fuel production overnight, or perhaps she’s fine with fueling Putin’s war machine or putting four billion people who depend on food grown with fossil fuel-derived fertilizers at risk of starvation. 

So don’t just stay where you are, Conservative Climate Caucus, open the bomb bay doors. The sooner conservatives blow up the narrative that they don’t care about climate change and don’t have any policy ideas, the sooner we’ll get to a serious debate about durable solutions that will be good for people and the planet. 

The views and opinions expressed are those of the author’s and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of C3.

Copyright © 2020 Conservative Coalition for Climate Solutions

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