U.S. President Donald Trump delivers his first address to a joint session of Congress from the floor of the House of Representatives iin Washington, U.S., February 28, 2017. (REUTERS/Jim Lo Scalzo/Pool)
President Donald Trump’s outspoken doubts about climate change and his administration’s efforts to roll back regulation to combat it have stirred a sleepy faction in U.S. politics: the Republican environmental movement.
The various groups represent conservatives, Catholics and the younger generation of Republicans who, unlike Trump, not only recognize the science of climate change but want to see their party wrest the initiative from Democrats and lead efforts to combat global warming.
Conservative green groups such as ConservAmerica and republicEn, along with politically neutral religious groups such as Catholic Climate Covenant and bipartisan groups such as the Citizens Climate Lobby, have ramped up efforts to recruit more congressional Republicans to work on addressing climate change since Trump’s election.
Conservative environmental advocates promote what they call “free enterprise” solutions to climate change, like a carbon tax. That stands in contrast to the approach of liberal environmentalists under former President Barack Obama, who backed bans on certain kinds of oil drilling and regulations aimed at discouraging petroleum use.
But whatever their differences, the conservative groups say they have an important role to play.