More good news on the theme of unlikely allies for climate solutions.
But first, a quote from the American Revolution:
It does not take a majority to prevail… but rather an irate, tireless minority, keen on setting brushfires of freedom in the minds of men.
I’ll come back to Sam Adams below and talk about the college senior who seems to be following Adams’ example in today’s clean energy revolution. But first, let’s look the incredible thing that this student, Alexander Posner, has just accomplished.
Bringing in New Recruits
A new group of college students has entered the fray to fight for the best most promising solution to fight climate change and promote clean energy. Carbon-fee-and-dividend, also called carbon dividend, would make clean energy cheaper by finally forcing dirty energy to pay for the right to pollute.
Up till now, fossil fuel companies selling coal, oil and natural gas have been able to pump carbon emissions into America’s skies free of charge. That’s a huge public subsidy that keeps dirty fuels artificially cheap.
The new group, Students for Carbon Dividends (S4CD) wants to make fossil fuels pay their full fare. That’s why the group supports the proposal put out by the Climate Leadership Council, led by former Bush Secretaries of State George P. Shultz and James A. Baker III.
Though conservative, this group is the real deal. They accept climate science and argue that climate solutions are imperative for America’s national security and continued prosperity. The details of their proposal are presented in a widely circulated video of a TED Talk on carbon dividend by the CLC’s founder Ted Halstead.
Speaking of videos, if you really want to be cheered up, check out S4CD’s impactful YouTube introduction.
As of March 2018, the multi-campus coalition boasts a membership of 23 Republican groups (including Young Republicans at campuses from Arizona State and Indiana University to the Ivy League), 6 democratic groups and 5 environmental groups.
Meet the Instigator: Alexander Posner
In the spirit of Sam Adams, who brought craftsmen like Paul Revere together with rich merchants like John Hancock to fight British overreach in Boston in the years leading up to the American Revolution, 22-year-old Yale University senior Alexander Posner came up with the idea for a coalition of unlikely allies to fight the energy tyranny of fossil fuel companies.
Why’d he do it? Posner told the New York Times that he’d been interested in climate change for years:
When he read about the climate council Mr. Baker and Mr. Shultz began last year, he signed up for an internship. Soon after, he started contacting his peers at Republican clubs across the country to sound them out on creating a coalition of their own.
“We’ve had a lot of conversations, and literally not once has the validity of climate science come up,” Mr. Posner said. “I think students really want to have a solutions-based discussion.”
Like many younger conservatives, Posner thinks that Republican leaders have let young voters down by continuing to argue against climate science.
“I think the common theme here is if representatives are not responding to the desires of their constituents, in particular young people,” Posner told the New York Times, “then young people are going to step forward. This coalition on the climate front is sort of a reflecting of the inaction of adults.”
Posner wants conservatives to enter the climate conservation not as deniers but as good-faith players. In that way, free-market fans can have a hand in moving solutions away from bureaucratic approaches like cap-and-trade towards letting the market price energy fairly based on its overall value to society instead.
Republican leaders should take notice. If they want to appeal to younger voters in the future, GOP leaders should follow Posner’s example. Only if Republicans can break free of the tyrannical hold of dirty energy companies and accept climate science soon can the party hope to offer a viable conservative alternative in future elections.
— Erik Curren, The Solar Patriot