Good morning/afternoon/evening! Whether you’re a first time reader or have tuned in since the very first edition, I appreciate you! Read on to catch the best EcoRight news of the week.
This week’s must read: I found the Atlantic article This Is Your Life on Climate Change a compelling read (except for getting my head around someone being born in 1980 turning 40 this year). I found it hard to extract a quote, so check it out for yourself. I even read it out loud to my kids at dinner last night and didn’t give up when they eye-rolled that they could read and I should just text it to them. ??Trust me, give it a go!
Come together: Reps. Pete Olson from Texas and Elise Stefanik from New York joined colleagues across the aisle to introduce the American Innovation and Manufacturing Leadership Act of 2020, a bill which would phase down the use of HFCs, climate change causing coolants. The measure is unique in that it has the backing of both industry and environmental groups. “This legislation will not only create jobs and boost our manufacturing economy, but also phase out the use of environmentally harmful refrigerants,” Stefanik said in a statement. “By keeping American technology and manufacturing at the forefront of this shift in the global market, we can continue our leadership in developing and exporting climate-friendly technologies to world.”
Phasing out HFCs is important in the battle against climate change and has near unanimous support. A Senate companion bill was introduced last year and also has bipartisan support. Both bills are in response to the Kigali Amendment to the Montreal Protocol, the landmark international environmental treaty spurred by Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher in response to the hole in the ozone. The Montreal Protocol is considered the most successful international environmental treaty, and the Kigali amendment deals with the global phaseout of HFCs.
3, 2, 1, huddle: House GOP leaders on energy have been meeting in an effort to assemble a climate change package the caucus can get behind. House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy convened the special policy conference discussion.
“We’ve been pretty clear that the first thing that we need to be doing on this is recognizing that the United States by itself can’t solve this problem. We need to be focusing on resiliency efforts,” said Rep. Garret Graves, who leads Republicans on the House Select Committee on the Climate Crisis. House Energy and Commerce Committee ranking member Rep. Greg Walden said he expects a package of 12 bills released by committee Republicans late last year will be in the mix. “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,” Walden said by email. “So, let’s focus on public policy grounded in innovation, conservation and preparation.”
“We have nothing to be afraid of in this debate,” added Rep. John Shimkus.
The winning Republican climate solution: carbon pricing: This Washington Post op-ed by former Secretary of State George Shultz and Climate Leadership Council founder Ted Halstead seems timely given the meetings reported above. “The newfound Republican climate position can be summarized as follows: The climate problem is real, the Green New Deal is bad and the GOP needs a proactive climate solution of its own. Our big question is what form it should take,” the authors write. “Just as a market-based solution is the Republican policy of choice on most issues, so should it be on climate change. A well-designed carbon fee checks every box of conservative policy orthodoxy. Not surprisingly, this is the favored option of corporate America and economists including all former Republican chairs of the president’s Council of Economic Advisers.”
This piece comes on the heels of a New York Post article, the surprisingly smart solution to climate change coming from conservatives. “The natural divide on climate is not between right and left but between old and young,” says EcoRight friend Alex Posner, a cofounder of Students for Carbon Dividends. “Younger voters aren’t going to support a party that walks away from this issue.”
Tyler Gilette crushed the picture is worth a thousand words thing.
Spotlight on public opinion: Whether or not you have followed the joint Yale Program on Climate Change Communication and George Mason University Center for Climate Change Communication multi-year project Global Warming’s Six Americas, you might find it notable that “alarmed” now makes up the biggest single group in this national survey. “Alarmed” are the most worried about global warming and the most supportive of strong action to reduce carbon pollution. In contrast, the “Dismissive” do not think global warming is happening or human-caused and strongly oppose climate action.
For the first time, the Alarmed are the single largest group of ‘Global Warming’s Six Americas’ at 31%. Over the past 5 years, they have tripled in size and are now 3x the number of Dismissive in the US (who have decreased). Learn more: https://t.co/Am6aAbpoG0 pic.twitter.com/hmp0pYdR0i
Anthony Leiserowitz (@ecotone2) January 16, 2020
Wonder where you fall on their scale? Take the quiz. (Spoiler: I just took it and I fall in the “alarmed” category.)
That’s it for me. I leave you with this inspiring Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. quote: “Only in the darkness can you see the stars.” ??