Agroup of prominent Republican lawmakers encouraged voters and their GOPcolleagues to back clean energy and consider action on climate change at aSept. 22 gathering in Washington, D.C.
Conservativeshave been largely resistant to climate regulations and have worked to protectcoal and natural gas producers from additional oversight and utility air rulesthat could diminish demand. But several leading voices within the GOP areurging fellow Republicans to embrace renewable resources and align clean energywith the party's broader values.
"Conservativesshouldn't overlook domestic renewable and alternative energies and theircontribution to our energy security, which is also a contribution to ournational and economic security," Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, said at theConservative Clean Energy Summit, which was hosted by the Young Conservativesfor Energy Reform.
ManyRepublicans, including those from solar- or wind-rich states like Grassley,have shown support for renewable energy. But the majority of GOP lawmakers inCongress opposes the Obama administration's efforts to curb carbon emissionsand has fought to overturn regulations that would challenge fossil fuelproduction and demand. Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump hascalled climate changea "hoax" promoted by China to penalize the U.S. economy and hasvowed to overturn theU.S. EPA's Clean Power Plan for reducing power sector carbon emissions if heenters office.
Butsome leading Republicans have broken away from GOP resistance to climate action.
"WhatI want you to do is to help me sign up more people in my party to get their toein the water, that it's OK to admit climate change is real… and let's find away to deal with it in a business-friendly way," Sen. Lindsey Graham,R-S.C., said at the Sept. 22 summit.
TheYoung Conservatives for Energy Reform commissioned a survey of 940conservatives between the ages of 18 and 35. The group said the survey showed "broadsupport" for renewable energy and policies that encourage its development.Of those polled, 67% favored tax credits or subsidies for clean energy researchand development and 66% backed tax credits or incentives for efficiencyinvestments. A little over half of respondents said they supported some form ofa carbon-based fuels tax to reduce emissions.