What a Republican Climate-Change Agenda Might Look Like

Alex Trembath in National Review:

For the first time in a long time, Republicans seem engaged on climate change. As concern over the issue surges among younger Republicans and sweeping Democratic proposals demand an answer from the right, GOP lawmakers have come forward with bills of their own to address the problem. The top Republican in the House, Kevin McCarthy, recently sat down with Axios’s Amy Harder to outline the biggest goals of a Republican climate-change agenda, namely:

• Carbon capture, with a focus on natural solutions such as more trees and improved soil-management (what President Trump called the “trillion trees initiative” in his State of the Union Address);

• Clean-energy innovation; and

• Conservation and recycling, with a focus on plastic waste.

The first thing to say here is that Republican lawmakers’ now-explicit interest in climate-change policy is unequivocally good. Policy and legislation are better served by competing visions of action, not the permanent partisan stalemate that has characterized the debate to date. But Republicans might be missing an opportunity here all the same. So-called “natural” climate solutions such as planting trees and improving soil-management have uncertain long-term benefits to the climate. Likewise, as I’ve written elsewhere, plastic bags and plastic straws are highly visible forms of waste that don’t actually have huge impacts on climate change.

More here.