I, along with many Republicans — at least 61 percent in a recent survey — believe that without a significant reduction in those emissions, global warming will soon be a very serious problem for our planet. This view is especially high among millennials and Hispanic-Americans, groups where our Republican presidential candidate will need to make inroads to win in 2016. Even major oil companies like ExxonMobil, Chevron and Shell, which would likely take a financial hit if consumers cut their carbon emissions, are on board with the scientific concurrence on emissions and warming.
I want to capitalize on this momentum, so I’ve committed $175 million of my personal funds through a new charitable foundation and a separate political action fund. The foundation will engage in targeted advocacy at both the state and national levels, make the public case through cutting-edge media platforms and give grants for innovative, conservative policy work. The political action fund will champion Republican candidates and legislation that support market-based solutions for clean energy and climate issues.
If you’d told me 15 years ago that this would be my cause, I would have laughed. I grew up the son of a real estate developer who loved the outdoors but disliked “crazy environmentalists,” and I followed suit. But over time — after poring over the research and talking to scores of scientists like the climate experts at MIT and NASA, all of whom now believe we need urgent action — I concluded that this is one of the biggest risks and opportunities of our lifetimes.