Climate change is increasingly on the minds of policy wonks and bureaucrats, with good reason: A report released by the White House and Environmental Protection Agency in June warned that it poses a dire threat to America’s economy, as did a Pentagon report in regard to national security.
But Republican politicians—and, in particular, those running for president—don’t seem to be paying attention. In recent weeks, leading Democratic candidates have put forward plans to address climate change. Republicans, by and large, haven’t.
Some conservatives are hoping to break their party’s silence on the issue. Key among them is Jay Faison, an entrepreneur from Charlotte, North Carolina, who announced last month that he plans to spend $175 million to encourage Republicans to advance solutions to climate change. “If conservatives fail to put forward our own agenda, climate change policy will likely go the way of health care—the Democrats owned the answers, and we ended up with Obamacare,” Faison wrote in a Politico op-ed.
But he’s not alone in calling for policy solutions to climate change from the right. Think tanks are arguing for free-market solutions to reduce carbon emissions. Grassroots Tea Party groups are butting heads with Koch brothers-backed Americans for Prosperity on allowing the sell of power from rooftop solar systems at the state level. Big business and some foreign oil companies are increasingly willing to accept—and, in many cases, are calling for—a price on greenhouse gas emissions. Even Newt Gingrich has expressed support for a GOP environmental platform that makes room for climate change.