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Conservative solutions to climate change

By Katie Zakrzewski

Conservative solutions to climate change are effective, and they often combine shrewd economics with environmental protection. Here are some policy ideas that we find resonate with conservatives we talk to in our outreach. Folks are often open to these solutions because of their ability to create jobs, boost the economy, and mitigate the effects of climate change. Here are some of the policy ideas.

Nuclear energy

Many conservatives are fans of nuclear energy. According to the Pew Research Center, 59% of Republicans support expanding nuclear power plants, and support for nuclear power is stronger among conservative Republicans (63%) than among moderate or liberal Republicans (51%). By reducing the regulatory burden on nuclear power plant construction processes, as well as by allowing nuclear reactors to be brought online within a reasonable timeframe, the U.S. could quickly see a meaningful reduction in greenhouse gas emissions. Additionally, according to the American Action Forum, nuclear energy is cost-effective compared to energy sources across the fossil fuel and clean energy spectrum. 

Domestic mining

Clean energy technologies and electric vehicles need rare earth minerals in order to be assembled. Expanding mining for these minerals domestically (as well as expediting the permitting process for metals) could allow companies at home to receive an economic boost, as well as a job surplus, all while working toward the long-term goal of clean energy. One way to get companies on board is to offer grants and economic incentives to companies seeking to mine them in the United States. Republicans in Congress today are leaning into this issue, signaling that it’s one that resonates with conservatives.

Carbon pricing

Out of all clean energy policies, carbon pricing is a home run for conservatives. A carbon fee charges corporate polluters who hurt the environment; that fee is then returned to American families in the form of a dividend. A carbon price isn’t a regulation: it’s a fine paid by wrongdoers who avoid being environmentally friendly. Additionally, a domestic carbon price with a border carbon adjustment makes the U.S. more economically competitive at home and abroad, especially against countries that have already implemented a carbon price, like Russia and China. Several Republican Senators are currently talking about a border carbon adjustment for that very reason. A carbon price also creates jobs while working to help America reduce carbon emissions to zero percent by 2050.

While there are many market solutions to climate change, it’s clear that carbon pricing ticks all the right boxes for conservatives, while building a stronger America for tomorrow. 

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Katie Zakrzewski, CCL Communications Coordinator, is an avid reader, writer and policy wonk. With published pieces, as well as podcast and radio appearances spanning the country, Zakrzewski looks forward to using her talents to create a healthier planet of tomorrow.