Hello! At press time, I will be exploring the wonderful world of Harry Potter (nerd alert). The EcoRight made its own magic this week.


This week’s must read: Concern about climate change among conservative Republicans hits highest level ever. The Trump Effect is over, according to George Mason and Yale University centers for climate communication. Their latest survey reports “an increase in Republican understanding of the reality of human-caused global warming, worry about the threat, and support for several climate policies over the past 14 months.”

Hear ye, hear ye: The House Natural Resources Committee held its first hearing on climate change since 2009. Witnesses included Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker, a Republican, who urged the federal government to take climate action. “We understand the science and know the impacts are real because we are experiencing them firsthand,” Baker said. “The magnitude of the impacts from climate change requires all of us — at the federal, state and local levels — to put politics aside and work together.”

More from his written statement: “I am proud of our record of climate leadership in Massachusetts, and there is much to learn from how states and regions have approached this issue; but states cannot solve this problem alone. We need strong federal leadership and a bold bipartisan vision on climate change that seeks compromise and prioritizes practical market-based solutions, while affording states the flexibility to design strategies that work for their unique challenges while continuing to grow their economies.”

He wasn’t the only one calling for action. The Subcommittee on Environment and Climate Change of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce also held a climate hearing this week. Illinois Rep. John Shimkus, in his opening statement, called climate change “challenging” but “not impossible to work through in a bipartisan manner.” He pointed out that the disagreement comes in what to do, and criticized the highly partisan nature of the issue. Catch his full opening statement below.

Oregon Rep. Greg Walden added: “Climate change is real. The need to protect the environment is real. The need to foster a strong U.S. economy and grow American jobs is real. And the need to prepare our communities for the future is real. The Republicans on this committee are ready and willing to have serious, solutions-oriented discussions about how to address and balance these considerations. When it comes to climate change, Republicans are focused on solutions. That’s why we back sensible, realistic, and effective policies to tackle climate change.”

Welcome to the EcoRight, Congressmen!

Decisions, decisions: A University of Chicago’s Energy Policy Institute and the AP–NORC Center for Public Affairs Research survey taken in November demonstrated that a dividend check to Americans is not the most popular way to disburse revenue generated by a carbon tax. Instead, 67 percent of respondents indicated they could support a carbon tax that returned revenues to support environmental mitigation. By contrast, only 49 percent indicated support of a carbon tax that returns revenue as a dividend check, otherwise known as the Cap and Dividend plan envisioned by Reagan Administration alum George Shultz and James A. Baker and included in the bill Rep. Francis Rooney (R-FL) recently joined delegation mate Rep. Ted Deutch to reintroduce. “To me, it’s an opportunity to lead,” Rooney told the Fort Myers News-Press last month. “I’ll talk to these conservative groups and they’ll say ‘why did you introduce a carbon tax bill’ and I’ll say ‘because I don’t think we need to burn coal.’ And a carbon tax is the most market-oriented, non-bureaucratic, efficient way I can see to kill off coal.” The carbon tax bill championed by former Rep. Carlos Curbelo last year would have used the revenue for infrastructure. “The benefit of the expenditures needs to be more tangible,” he told Axios. Curbelo recently joined the Alliance for Market Solutions (AMS) Board of Advisors. AMS executive director Alex Flint noted, “If the revenue is used in a fiscal space it can create a second constituency and the political support necessary to get a deal done.”

Hot, hot, hot: 2018 was the 4th hottest year since 1880, according to the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the last five years have been the warmest five years. In separate findings, NOAA determined that the United States experienced 14 weather and climate disasters in 2018, killing 247 people and costing a minimum of $1 billion each and an aggregate of an estimated $91 billion.

And the groundhog didn’t see a shadow. Until next week, EcoRight friends.