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Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Republican Panelists Encourage Bipartisanship on Climate Change

Republican and bipartisan input belong in conversations on climate change solutions, conservative climate advocates said at a Nov. 7 panel hosted by the Georgetown University College Republicans and Georgetown Institute of Politics and Public Service.

The event, “Conservative Solutions: Common Sense on Climate,” held in White-Gravenor Hall, featured four republican panelists who discussed conservative initiatives and solutions to climate change. The speakers proposed solutions to issues like a carbon tax, a fee on the burning of carbon-based fuels, among other free market alternatives to Democratic policies addressing climate change. 

@GUPOLITICS/TWITTER | Conservative climate advocates proposed conservative solutions to climate change at a Nov. 7 event.

Ryan Costello, a former Republican Pennsylvania congressman and member of the Climate Solutions Caucus, a bipartisan group in the House of Representatives that explores policy options to address climate change, served as one of the panelists. The Republican Party needs to prioritize working on solutions to climate change to win elections, according to Costello.

“For Republicans to maintain its space in our two-party system, we need an environmental agenda,” Costello said. “If we’re not out in front with a climate solution — and climate is a top one, two, three issue for a voter — even if you are aligned with the Republican party, you may well not vote Republican because you don’t see the Republican party offering solutions to the significant issues of this time.”

Policymakers need to create bipartisan solutions to successfully address climate change, according to Costello.

“If it’s just one party doing something, those solutions tend not to be durable,” Costello said. “They tend to be politicized; it’s very difficult to get something through really transformational unless you get buy in from both political parties.”

Other panelists included Jim Tolbert, conservative outreach director of Citizens Climate Lobby; Nick Lindquist, national policy director at the American Conservation Coalition; and Alex Bozmoski (COL ’08), managing director of republicEN, a conservative group supporting efforts to reduce the risk of climate change. 

The event was organized in association with the American Conservation Coalition, a group that educates conservative individuals on environmental issues, the Citizens Climate Lobby, a group that facilitates dialogue with elected representatives to form environmental policies, and Students for Carbon Dividends, a bipartisan group dedicated to creating policies to solve climate change. 

Certain democratic proposals such as the Green New Deal, a congressional resolution to address climate change, are not optimal plans to solve the climate crisis, according to Bozmoski. Without an alternative, however, the Green New Deal will continue to gain popularity, Bozmoski said.

“When this country has decided that it wants something, in our case, climate action, it will take the only option offered over none at all and if the only thing on the table is the Green New Deal, then buckle up for the Green New Deal,” Bozmoski said. “You should say this is a big problem and conservatives for free enterprise have solutions that are more powerful than the GND.”

The carbon tax has received bipartisan support and is a forward-thinking free market solution, Costello said.

“Putting a price on pattern with the revenue derived from that price going back into the pocket of the taxpayer to the tune of about $2,000 for a family of four by my way of thinking isn’t a tax because, number one, we’re not taxing you, we’re putting a price on those who pollute with the revenue going back to the American taxpayer,” Costello said.

In opposition to the Climate Forum 2020 held at Georgetown University on Sept. 19 and 20, GUCR hosted a panel of climate scientists and policymakers called “Climate Forum: A Rebuttal,” on Sept. 19. The GUCR event was interrupted by protesters who characterized the invited speakers as climate deniers and skeptics. The Georgetown University Police Department arrived at the event to break up the interrupting demonstrations. 

At Thursday’s panel, GUPD officers asked students to present their Georgetown identification and conducted bag searches upon entry. 

GUCR aimed to present students with more viewpoints on climate change through the event, according to GUCR Director of Campus Affairs Dalton Nunamaker (COL ’22).

“Tonight was a way for us to recommit to our values of free speech that we hold so dear, that the other side oftentimes doesn’t seem to hold to,” Nunamaker said. “This is a way for us to introduce some really important policy ideas and to have a big debate and discussion.” 

Several Republicans have been active proponents of climate change solutions as Republican values and environmental activism are not mutually exclusive, according to Lindquist. 
“I realized I can be a Republican and care about the environment as well, and there are solutions out there that Republicans can advocate for,” Lindquist said.

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