Top College Republican leaders launch climate advocacy campaign

More than two dozen top College Republican leaders from across the country, including four from Utah, have launched an advocacy campaign to promote a federal climate solution known as the Baker-Shultz Carbon Dividends Plan.

Co-founded by more than 25 current and former chairs and vice-chairs of College Republican State Federations from across the country, Young Conservatives for Carbon Dividends (YCCD) will mobilize young conservatives to engage with Republican lawmakers and champion the carbon dividends solution.

This is the first-time that top state College Republican leaders have united behind a concrete and ambitious climate plan. See the list of Co-Founders below.

“This breakthrough effort, from the heart of the Republican Party’s youth wing, marks a new chapter in young conservative organizing around climate,” said Kiera O’Brien, the founding president of YCCD and the president emerita of the Harvard Republican Club. “We are not waiting for good policy to arrive. We’re making it happen.”

This new campaign comes on the heels of the College Republican National Committee (CRNC)’s annual board meeting at the end of November, where a national anti-carbon tax resolution was introduced. It was voted on by College Republican State Chairs from across the country and defeated.

YCCD’s launch also comes as momentum is building for Republicans to provide a market-based alternative to the Green New Deal. Republican House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy recently warned that the GOP risks losing a generation of young voters in the absence of an affirmative climate agenda. This echoed recent polling from the Luntz Global—founded by famed GOP pollster Frank Luntz—which showed that 69% of Republicans believe the party is hurting itself with young voters over climate.

“We cannot be the party of the future without a plan to protect the future,” said O’Brien. “Or without policy solutions that appeal to voters of the future.”

Announced in February of 2017, the carbon dividends framework has earned broad support from American economists, environmental NGOs, and business leaders. It has also won the endorsement of 27 Nobel Prize winners (a record number) and every former Republican chair of the White House Counsel of Economic Advisers.

The Baker-Shultz Carbon Dividends Plan features four pillars: 1) a gradually rising and revenue-neutral carbon fee; 2) carbon dividend payments to all Americans, funded by 100% of the revenue; 3) the phase-out of carbon regulations that are no longer necessary; and 4) border carbon adjustments to level the playing field and promote competitiveness.

“This is a climate plan designed with the input of American economists and business leaders, not far-left activists,” said Grayson Massey, who served as chairman of the Utah Federation of College Republicans from 2017 to 2019. “The carbon dividends solution would rely on market forces, not heavy-handed regulation, to drive clean energy innovation and promote continued economic growth.”

“We don’t need big government to do big things,” said Isaiah Mears, chairman of the Indiana Federation of College Republicans. “We are clear-eyed about the importance of ambitiously achieving emissions reductions, and equally clear-eyed about the power—and superiority—of a market-based solution.”

“From Teddy Roosevelt’s creation of the national parks, to Nixon’s passage of the Clean Air Act, to Reagan’s leadership on the Montreal Protocol, to the George H.W. Bush’s highly successful efforts to curb acid rain, the Republican Party has a long and proud legacy of environmental leadership,” said Brooke Cusack, chairwoman of the Alaska Federation of College Republicans. “This new campaign aims to rekindle that proud heritage and take the message of carbon dividends directly to Republican lawmakers.”

Over the coming months, YCCD will expand into key states and districts and conduct events, write op-eds, and run digital and field campaigns.

Through these and other efforts, YCCD will demonstrate that young conservatives are hungry for a free-market climate solution, interested in Republican leadership on this issue, and supportive of the carbon dividends plan as the best path forward.

Among the 25+ Top College Republican Leaders are four from Utah:

-Adam Brown, Vice-Chairman, Utah Federation of College Republicans

-Grayson Massey, Chairman, Utah Federation of College Republicans (‘17-19)

-Jeremiah Davies, Chairman, Utah Federation of College Republicans

-Kelsey Trainor, Vice-Chairwoman Utah Federation of College Republicans (‘18-19)

Young Conservatives for Carbon Dividends (YCCD) is a 501(c)(4) advocacy organization that aims to mobilize young conservative leaders in support of the pro-growth, pro-innovation Baker-Shultz Carbon Dividends Plan, renew the GOP’s proud legacy of environmental leadership, and lay the groundwork for a free-market climate breakthrough.

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