Republicans Push ‘Innovation’ As Climate Change Solution

GOP lawmakers are increasingly turning to a new refrain for their position on climate change, calling for “innovation” as the policy solution.

Many Republicans have seemingly settled on innovation as their primary position to counter progressive Democrats who have grown louder in their calls for a Green New Deal, with its emphasis on renewable electricity, and as the United Nations and federal government issue reports saying time is running out to dramatically cut emissions.

Endorsing innovation has very few obvious political downsides for the GOP. It’s not controversial and helps Republicans paint a contrast with Democratic ideas they argue are controversial and expensive.

But critics say Republicans are being disingenuous and using innovation to mask their opposition to more aggressive climate change policies. Those critics say innovation alone isn’t sufficient to cut greenhouse gas emissions to the level that scientists say is necessary.

“What you’re hearing from Republicans is an acknowledgement that pollution and human activity have a negative effect on the environment. But they don’t want to get backed into a corner on specifics,” said Ford O’Connell, a Republican strategist. “They recognize their electorate are concerned about it, but the Democrats have not presented a realistic solution that does not hurt jobs and economic growth.”

The GOP sees climate change as a niche issue, O’Connell said, so any policy they support only needs to please a small portion of voters.

Read more from Timothy Cama at The Hill

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Analysis & Political Strategy