Indiana college Republicans have joined other young conservatives in a climate campaign. Young Conservatives for Carbon Dividends urges Republican lawmakers to pass a carbon tax.
The campaign is based on a plan that would gradually increase a tax on carbon dioxide emissions and give that money back to U.S. citizens. It would also get rid of any environmental regulations on emissions that are no longer necessary because of the tax.
Isaiah Mears is the chairman of the Indiana Federation of College Republicans and a co-founder of the new group. He says Indiana Republicans have already shown they can make progress — just look at U.S. Sen. Mike Braun (R-Ind.) who’s leading a bipartisan climate caucus.
“Even though we are a very traditional, very conservative state. We're also willing to work with the other side and be able to come up with solutions,” Mears says.
Mears says Republicans are realizing that the climate issue isn’t going away and that if they don’t find solutions, it will leave the door open to liberal fixes like the Green New Deal.
Indiana native and Yale graduate George Gemelas is part of the bipartisan group Students for Carbon Dividends. He says it’s clear that young people of all kinds want climate action.
“The divide is much less between left and right in the younger generation. In our opinion is much more between older and younger," Gemelas says.
Gemelas says caring about the climate is nothing new for conservatives. He says take George H.W. Bush's successful act to curb acid rain, for example.
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Indiana Environmental reporting is supported by the Environmental Resilience Institute, an Indiana University Grand Challenge project developing Indiana-specific projections and informed responses to problems of environmental change.