Trump made a statement this week, doubling down on his call for climate change “the Global Warming Hoax.” A few days later, he followed up with a fundraising email, calling climate change one of his top seven hoaxes along with the Russia investigation, and the 2020 election.
Because Trump is not a party member, there are few people in the GOP who will push back against Trump on the issue. This could alienate the base or anger the former President. The GOP’s push for climate change denial is facing a steep climb.
CNN was told by Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham from South Carolina that “I keep telling Republicans they can win solution debate, but we’re not in the denial camps, we have a problem.” “I believe that in 2024, we will need a platform in the party that addresses this issue.”
However, even the most vocal supporters of climate and environmental issues in GOP admit that they still face resistance from the far right which threatens to undermine their mission.
“We have our extremism (in party). It tends manifest itself in what i would call denial,” said Rep. John Curtis from Utah, a Republican and co-founder the Conservative Climate Caucus. “I think it’s fair that this has been out there, but there’s no one to blame except ourselves. We’ve either been silent, or we just tell people what’s wrong. This is different for us. We speak out and actually put forward ideas.
He said, “Participation in this branding problem… is our fault.”
Republicans are trying to craft their climate policies
Despite the odds, Republicans are determined to influence the climate policy debate despite the difficulties.
A delegation of five Republicans will attend the UN’s annual summit on climate, known as COP26 in Glasgow this weekend. Republicans hope to counter the Democrats’ climate policies and show that Republicans are equally committed to tackling the problem. This is the first Republican-only delegation to attend COP.
Curtis stated, “It’s vital for the world that Republicans are engaged in this issue, that we care, and have ideas. “We want the climate table.”
Curtis also claimed that there’s a growing desire among the party to address the climate crisis. He pointed out the fact that 70 House Republicans – or about one-third of the conference — joined the newly formed Conservative Climate Caucus.
“It’s kinda a recent phenomenon within conservative politics and really has developed well over the last few years,” said Rep. Dan Crenshaw from Texas, one the Republicans who will be attending the climate summit. “Independents want it. Younger voters want to hear your thoughts. We must be showing that we care.
Kevin McCarthy, House Minority Leader held a three day forum to highlight some GOP’s environmental proposals earlier in the year. A task force was also established to address the topic.
CNN was informed by a California Republican that “the Republican Party is very forward-looking in finding ways we could become energy independent, rather than making gasoline prices so high.” “You wouldn’t want the world believing that the climate message was just with Nancy Pelosi. These problems can be solved by Republicans.
Chris Barnard, policy director of the American Conservation Coalition’s youth conservative climate group American Conservation Coalition, said that “they understand the electoral ticking clock bomb.” “If we don’t address this issue, our relevance among young voters will be lost.” It’s very important to us on all fronts.”
Cramer said that although it was unusual, it is an important part of the plan’s greenhouse-gas-reduction targets. “I think there is a growing awareness among politicians of all stripes that this is an issue that Americans want to be addressed.”
The Republican plan doesn’t seek to reduce reliance on fossil energy and instead focuses on the US continuing its use and sale of natural gas. The plan would encourage jobs in renewable energy, such as nuclear and mining for essential minerals that are used in the production of electric vehicle batteries. The plan doesn’t have any specific policies beyond its broad goals. Senators indicated that they are still in negotiations with their Republican counterparts and some Democrats, including Sen. Joe Manchin from West Virginia, about what should be included.
The senators also admitted that they have been working on the plan for months but don’t have complete buy-in from House and Senate Republicans. CNN spoke with Rep. Garret Graves, a Louisiana member who was traveling to COP. He said that he opposed the Senate’s emissions target.
Graves stated that he had not seen the issue in detail. Graves stated, “I support international components and focusing on those. Personally, I don’t like to set goals if I don’t have a plan or the technology to achieve them. This is where I get worried.
Republicans agree that they don’t want to actively reduce US carbon emissions. They argue that it’s already happening enough. President Joe Biden, congressional Democrats, have been focusing all their efforts on reducing US greenhouse gas emission. Republicans want to push countries like China or India to do more.
The GOP is also willing to do its best to harm Democrats’ plan. It links a future transition from clean energy to the current energy shortage. Biden’s climate program was called the “Green New Deal,” about 20 times by Republicans during Wednesday’s news conference.
Still, negative messaging on the Democrats’ plan is easy; the more difficult part for Republicans is to find their own solution.
The GOP is divided on climate policy
Both sides are rebuffing the Republicans’ plans. Democrats argue that the GOP’s plan to plant 1 trillion trees to remove carbon dioxide from our atmosphere is not enough to address the crisis.
Conservatives are, however, unhappy with the Republican climate push.
“I’m always curious about their constituency for this or at whom it’s aimed at,” stated Myron Ebell (director of the Center for Energy and Environment, Competitive Enterprise Institute). “These efforts are well-intentioned… but I don’t think they’re very well considered.”
Ebell said that the Republicans’ modest proposals were essentially trying to have it both ways.
It’s like saying, “I want energy production. I don’t want to do anything that would harm our economy’s energy production. He said that he was doing something about climate change, but he disagreed.
This week, Steve Scalise, the House Minority Whip of Louisiana — whose state has been hard hit by climate crisis-related natural catastrophes — spoke at a news conference.
Scalise declined to answer questions about the GOP’s plans to address climate change. He stated that the effects of global warming on natural disasters was less important than the changes in carbon emissions.
“Ten thousand years ago you can see the record that we had warmer temperatures than we do today. He said that it fluctuates between up and down. “We’ve experienced freezing periods since the 1970s. They predicted a new cooling period. Now it’s getting warmer and colder. This is Mother Nature. It is false to suggest that wildfires or hurricanes are a result of natural disasters that have occurred in the past few years.
Graves, also from Louisiana said that while he does not believe that a changing climate is creating more frequent storms it is producing stronger storms.
Graves stated, “I have seen data that suggests that you have higher storm intensity.”
Bob Inglis, a former South Carolina Republican lawmaker, is outspoken on the subject. He said that he has heard from many of his former coworkers that their grandchildren and children are pushing them to take action on climate change.
CNN’s Inglis stated that former colleagues are affected by their grandkids and children. They have to decide if they are going to be Trumped or if they can just get past him on this and be okay.
Cramer dismissed however the idea that Trump’s continued climate denialism was clouding or deterring GOP’s efforts in addressing the issue.
Trump asked me about my views on global climate change five to six decades ago. I answered that it didn’t matter, the American people want to see it addressed and I would rather have our solutions to it than the Democrats’,” Trump said. “So he and me have — we disagree on climate change but certainly from a standpoint of public service responsibility, we have a duty to deal with it responsibly, and that is where I’m focusing.”