It’s Time for Conservatives To Lead On Climate Policy


Monday, June 21, 2021

President Biden released his whopping six trillion dollar budget which includes billions allocated to address climate change. Yet for some progressives that might not be enough. The truth is that the left believes that they hold the moral high ground on issues such as climate change. 

Florida Representative Maria Salazar challenged the left’s supposed moral superiority in a recent press conference, boldly exclaiming, “No political party holds a monopoly on compassion in our country.” I too get frustrated when progressive environmental groups shout that the only way to save the planet is by passing a destructive proposal like the Green New Deal. I’ve also become frustrated by the number of Republicans who continue to deny the reality of a changing climate. Unfortunately for the current conservative movement, the climate has become a partisan issue. 

From Teddy Roosevelt to Ronald Reagan, Republicans have a long history of pro-conservation policies. Republicans such as Senator Mitt Romney and House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy have said that the GOP needs to find its footing on climate. Even President Trump signed an executive order to provide support to the one trillion trees initiative to combat emissions.

I spent years hungry for a free-market, conservative solution on climate. It was when I found out about carbon pricing that my hunger was satisfied and knew that this was a viable solution that conservatives, especially younger conservatives, could support. 

Carbon pricing places a fee on fossil fuels at the source of extraction, which would send a powerful market signal throughout the economy, spurring rapid decarbonization and incentivize the development of low-carbon technologies. Paired with a monthly dividend, all revenue generated would be given back to the American people to spend as they see fit. 

In addition, conservatives care about the planet not only because it’s important, but because it’s a religious moral. The leaders of my church have emphasized the importance of being good stewards to the earth. Like many of you, I connect with mother nature through hiking and camping. Carbon pricing seeks to cut carbon emissions in half by the year 2030, preserving the nature and outdoors we all enjoy. 

Tackling climate change not only requires action from the U.S. but from the international community. If the U.S. passes carbon pricing legislation, it would produce a domino effect for the rest of the world to follow. The U.S. would tax countries that don’t have a carbon pricing equivalent. This will keep high pollutants like China and India accountable. Not only will this level the economic playing field, but it will push other nations to adopt similar practices. 

We’ve always been a world leader. It’s time we lead by example in smart, responsible, and effective climate policy. 

The Republican Party is at a crossroads. We can continue to be the party of climate denialism or the party that combats dangerous policies like the Green New Deal with a free-market alternative. Voters, just as I once was, are hungry for an alternative. Carbon pricing serves as that alternative.

Young conservatives have been sounding the alarm on climate for years now. We know that the solution to a rapidly changing climate is not more government or regulation, it’s the American spirit. Harnessing the power of everyday Americans and businesses, we can defeat the threat of climate change.

Hunter A. Thomas is an upcoming law student and was President of BYU College Republicans from 2019 to 2020.

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 Hunter Thomas

Hunter A. Thomas is an upcoming law student and was President of BYU College Republicans from 2019 to 2020.

hunterthom_ on Instagram @hunterthom_

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