Young Republicans Must Not Concede the Environment Debate to the Left

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Tuesday, May 19, 2020


In the climate change debate, most Americans immediately think of progressive extremists like Vice President Gore and Representative Ocasio-Cortez who peddle outlandish policies and socialist take-overs of private industry. If they had it their way, we would have no more airplanes, no more cars, and no more cows. These proposals are unrealistic and foreshadow a world that many Americans want no place in.

The truth is that Republicans are the original champions of environmental stewardship, balancing conservation with meeting America’s energy needs. Beginning in the early 20th century, Teddy Roosevelt was an iconic Republican president known for preserving over 230 million acres of public lands and establishing federal agencies to preserve our forests and wildlife. Roosevelt was followed by Republican presidents who championed clean air, clean water, and much more. Just last year, President Donald Trump signed the largest public land conservation legislation in the last decade, adding 1.3 million acres of newly protected wilderness, preserving 350 miles of river and creating 700,000 acres of new conservation areas.

Additionally, each Republican president in the last 50 years has made serious efforts to modernize our nation’s energy infrastructure with new technology that reduces American dependence on foreign oil cartels. From Roosevelt to Trump, Republicans have led smart, forward-thinking environmental stewardship with a realistic approach that both preserves our nation’s beauty and supports continued economic prosperity.

The Green New Deal is a socialist fantasy. It’s unrealistic, unreasonable, and un-American. But for many young Americans, it’s hard to see how fantastical the Green New Deal is without an alternative that lays a better path forward. Republicans need a conservative approach which encourages innovation, energy independence, and infrastructure modernization. With the American Climate Contract, we have a plan that does just that.

The American Conservation Coalition proposed the American Climate Contract because it’s time for conservatives to take back the narrative from the left and to encourage conservative ideas to address climate change. The time for simply opposing progressive climate plans has passed, and a framework for a conservative approach based on market principles is long overdue. With more than 77% of Young Republicans saying action on climate change is important to them, the Young Republican National Federation strongly endorsed the free-market and limited government solutions outlined in this plan.

Republicans believe in the capitalist vision of private industry meeting the needs of American consumers. As American consumers, especially young Americans, become more environmentally conscious, private industry has stepped up to the plate. Most major American industries are reducing their carbon footprint without the government telling them to do so. This is the free market at work. This is the solution Republicans champion. The American Climate Contract empowers the private sector to take the lead rather than the government, which is a welcome alternative to the Green New Deal.  

While politics change over time, the need to conserve our nation’s land, wildlife, and resources for future generations does not. Conservation does not require overly burdensome regulations or carbon taxes. Even while President Trump cut government regulations and grew the economy at a historic rate, the United States reduced its carbon emissions last year

This is a real solution that grows our economy and preserves our environment. The fact is that we do not have to choose between one or the other. In America, we have the freedom to enjoy both.

Rick Loughery is the chairman of the Young Republican National Federation.

The views expressed in this article are the opinion of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Lone Conservative staff.


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About Rick Loughery

Rick Loughery is the chairman of the Young Republican National Federation.

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