For Benji Backer, being conservative means thinking in limited government, market-based solutions — and the scientists who say carbon emissions have to be cut to avoid the worst of climate change.
Mr. Backer’s nonprofit, the American Conservation Coalition (ACC), held exactly what it billed as the country’s first conservative climate rally at Miami, a part of an effort by the 23-year-old activist to convince fellow right-leaning Americans they don’t have to be liberals to support action on the issue.
It included a handful of Republican politicians from south Florida, which presents climate threats including tidal floods against rising seas, more powerful hurricanes, and health dangers from higher humidity and temperatures.
“The environment does not have a preferred political party,” Mr. Backer said from a podium overlooking a bay nearby where the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has proposed a $6 billion sea wall. “Today conservatives are reclaiming our seat at the environmental table.”
An avid skier and hiker, Mr. Backer began organizing the ACC while a school freshman and becoming dismayed with then-President Donald Trump, who said climate change was a hoax made by the Chinese. The team said it hopes its membership, now in the thousands, will expand to 10,000 by the end of the year.
Mr. Backer’s mission reflects a nuance in U.S. climate politics that is often lost in the partisan argument: while the Republican Party is seen compared to climate actions, most of its members believe in global warming but disagree with liberals over the way to fix it.
That poses no little difficulty, however.
Environmentalists accuse Mr. Backer’s set of obstructing the competitive climate action they say is needed to conserve the planet by suggesting half-measure market-based solutions rather.
While the ACC supports elements of Democratic President Joe Biden’s climate plan, such as those who focus on invention, from nuclear energy advances to carbon capture and storage, it also faults his proposals for being bloated and for neglecting”to streamline burdensome regulations.”
Mr. Biden’s administration expects to decarbonize the U.S. market by 2050 and the power industry by 2035, mainly by ramping up fresh energy usage and electrifying automobiles and buildings.
The ACC platform just involves moving”toward” international net-zero carbon emissions by 2050, not hitting the goal or surpassing it. Instead of the mandates included in Mr. Biden’s plan, it favors”market solutions” to cutting greenhouse gases, like building more buildings out of wood that stores carbon, creating new International forests at a”trillion trees” program, also inc