A new tone from some Republicans on climate change — mostly behind closed doors

Though a significant bloc of the party continues to deny the basic science of the issue, some senior Republicans are showing a willingness to consider incremental legislation to turbo-charge clean energy research funding, invest in greening buildings, support electric vehicle charging infrastructure and promote energy efficiency.

And a few others are going farther, notably Rep. Francis Rooney, who supports a carbon tax — an idea that hasn’t attracted Republican support since a failed cap-and-trade bill nearly a decade ago.

“I don’t understand what it is about people in politics that they seem to be immune from some of these large shifts in opinion out there in the real world. I mean almost all the large-company CEOs are for taking reasonable steps to deal with climate change and sea level rise,” said Rooney, who represents a coastal Florida district and served as an ambassador in the George W. Bush administration.