Republicans have trashed the Green New Deal — Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez's proposal to eliminate greenhouse gas emissions and create a renewable energy economy — as unrealistic, unaffordable and ill-conceived.
But ever since the New York Democrat began promoting the idea late last year, a growing number of House GOP lawmakers have been increasingly willing to say those four little words: "Climate change is real." And they're warning the rest of their party that Republicans must push for alternative solutions before it's too late.
Reps. John Shimkus (R-Illinois), the ranking member of the House Energy and Commerce's Environment and Climate Change subcommittee, Billy Long (R-Missouri), Bill Flores (R-Texas), Buddy Carter (R-Georgia) and Anthony Gonzalez (R-Ohio), among others, made their views plain during a pair of hearings on the topic in early February.
"This is an extremely important subject," Carter said during a House Energy and Commerce subcommittee on the Environment and Climate Change hearing on February 6, adding that climate change "is real" and is "something that we have to address."
Shimkus, along with Rep. Greg Walden (R-Oregon), the ranking member of the Energy and Commerce Committee, and Fred Upton (R-Michigan), the ranking member of the House Energy and Commerce's Energy subcommittee, argued in a Feb. 13 opinion article that the Green New Deal would have "potentially devastating consequences on our national debt and on our economy."
"Americans deserve better. That's why we back sensible, realistic, and effective policies to tackle climate change," they wrote.
It's a position that contradicts President Donald Trump, who continues to doubt the veracity of climate science — so much so that his administration plans to name a group of selected scientists to reassess it's earlier dire analysis of climate change. According to The Washington Post, the group of scientists would include those who question just how severe climate change really is and the extent to which humans contribute to it. According to Bloomberg, the Trump administration will seek drastic cuts to the Department of Energy's renewable energy budget as part of the president's fiscal year 2020 budget request, set to be released Monday.
But polling shows the Republican Party's aversion to acknowledging climate change is increasingly falling out of favor. An NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll released on March 4 showed that 63 percent of adults felt that the GOP's positions on climate change were outside the mainstream, compared to 54 percent who said so when asked in October 2015. On fiscal issues, immigration and abortion — three other issues that adults were asked about in both the polls — the difference between 2015 and 2019 was negligible or nonexistent.