DEPLOY/US is upending the conventional wisdom on when and how the United States will take meaningful action on climate change.
The world will not solve the climate crisis without U.S. leadership, and the U.S. will not lead in a sustained way without bipartisan support. We must invest in authentic conservative leadership on climate and clean energy. Fortunately, a tipping point is within reach. Here's why.
conservative voter support
47% of conservative Republicans think the U.S. should reduce greenhouse gas emissions, according to a May 2017 Yale poll – an 8% increase from April 2016. Florida voters defeated a 2016 initiative that would have restricted solar choice, and the five states that get the largest share of their electricity from wind are dominated by the political right.
In 2017, a climate resolution advanced by Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-NY) gained 22 Republican cosponsors; to date, the House Climate Solutions Caucus (CSC) has grown to include more than 10% of House Republicans; and 46 House Republicans voted to protect climate language in the defense authorization bill. Altogether, nearly 25% of the House Republican caucus has taken action in support of climate policy in the last year.
a political window is opening
For the past 50 years, nearly every federal environmental law has been enacted when the conservative brand has been both dominant and damaged. During those times, conservatives in Congress have distinguished themselves from the damaged brand by forging bipartisan environmental policy.
Seizing this opportunity, however, requires strategic investment now. A growing number of conservative members of Congress, looking for a way forward on climate, are supporting modest first-step measures and assessing the public response. If trusted validators encourage and celebrate their leadership, more conservatives are likely to embrace increasingly ambitious measures in the next two to three years. This is the path to bipartisan action, and this is why DEPLOY/US' work is so timely and important.