A U.S. House of Representatives resolution introduced by 17 Republicans calls on legislators to “commit to working on climate change solutions that keep in mind the health of the economy,” InsideClimate News reports.
“Though it stops short of recognizing the connection between emissions from fossil fuels and climate change, it is a departure from the outright climate denial promoted by many Republican congressmen and Trump administration appointees,” ICN notes. The resolution, led by Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-NY), states that it is a conservative principle to “protect, conserve, and be good stewards of the environment, responsibly plan for all market factors, and base our policy decisions in science and quantifiable fact.”
The resolution may have drawn wider Republican buy-in because it frames climate change as an opportunity for “American ingenuity, innovation, and exceptionalism”, rather than focusing on the scope of the climate challenge, said former Rep. Bob Inglis, a conservative climate advocate from South Carolina.
“If you tell me the apocalypse is upon me I will shrink in science denial, because it’s a pretty good coping mechanism,” he told ICN. “But if you start the conversation with, ‘There are ways to be ingenious here and ways that Americans can lead,’ now I’m feeling efficacious. Engagement is now my coping mechanism.”
Inglis wasn’t bothered that the resolution stops short of spotlighting fossil fuel emissions as the leading cause of climate change. “These leaders are trying to shape public opinion and lead public opinion, and that is best done gently,” he said. “We don’t think many people are going to have the ability to do a 180 on this.”
In a week when all eyes were on the climate and environmental devastation proposed in the new White House’s first budget, U.S. advocates applauded the Stefanik resolution.
“I’m heartened to see Republican House members introduce a resolution committing Congress to address climate change and base its policy decisions on science and quantifiable facts,” said Union of Concerned Scientists President Ken Kimmell.
“It is good to see more Republican Members of Congress acknowledging the science of climate change,” agreed Alex Taurel, deputy legislative director of the League of Conservation Voters.