This week’s must read: True conservatives should worry about climate change (Charlotte Observer)

This week’s must watch: Chris Wallace of Fox News Sunday takes EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt to task on climate change

First, a public service announcement: it’s 358 days until the next April Fool’s Day, so don’t let yourself get caught again by our wonderfully funny way of pranking you. (Though we like our two-for-two record.)

This week in real ecoright climate change news, the House Climate Solutions Caucus extended its roster when Colorado’s Rep. Mike Coffman became the 18th Republican to join. “I am pleased to be joining this caucus with my colleague, Representative Kuster,” Coffman said, referencing his Democratic partner from New Hampshire. “It’s clear that we should do all we can to reduce carbon emissions in order to improve the quality of our environment, and I believe that Ms. Kuster and I can bring a true bi-partisan spirit to working toward common-sense solutions to environmental issues. I look forward to working with the Climate Solutions Caucus to craft and advance policies that keep our environment clean while keeping our economy and the American innovative spirit strong.” The caucus, which has swelled to 36 members, adheres to a “Noah’s Ark” rule of admitting Republican and Democrats in even numbers.

In other news, Ted Thomas, a former Republican legislator and the current chairman of the Arkansas Public Service Commission, which regulates the electric utilities in the state, considers himself to be in a “unique” position on climate change. In an interview, Thomas explained his positioning like this: “A, I offered a declaration in support of the litigation against the Clean Power Plan; B, I publicly criticized Senator McConnell’s ‘just say no’ strategy; C, I think that carbon emissions are correlated with global temperature increase, and humans are causing enough of it that it’s a public policy problem; but D, I also think that identifying a problem isn’t enough. You have to identify a solution and have a straightforward problem about what it costs.” The one-time budget director under Gov. Mike Huckabee says carbon poses a risk, regardless of what happens in the wake of the Executive Order issued by President Donald Trump. “I like low costs, I want to keep low costs, so I have two big risks. One of them is [natural] gas prices going up, and the other one is federal carbon policy. With an administration that at the moment really doesn’t appear to have its act together, that increases carbon risk, because if there’s a backlash in four years, we’re going to have carbon policy. And it will probably be a lot more stringent than the Clean Power Plan,” he said. He pointed to fuel diversity as a way to minimize risk and thinks technological advancements are the path forward.

And finally, Russian President Vladimir Putin “wins” this week’s climate jester honors. Putin contradicted previous comments to say humans do not contribute to climate change and suggested the problem could be use for Russia’s “economic ends.” He has also suggested a warming of two to three degrees could mean Russians won’t need to wear fur coats. Putin said “warming had already started by the 1930s” thus concluding “there were no such anthropological factors, such emissions” at the time to exacerbate the problem. “The issue is not stopping it… because that’s impossible, since it could be tied to some global cycles on Earth or even of planetary significance. The issue is to somehow adapt to it,” he said. These comments run contrary to his position in 2015 when he said “the quality of life of all people on the planet depends on solving the climate problem.”

Tune in next week for more news from the ecoright. May your weekend be microburst free.