The Reversing Climate Change podcast with Nori
A podcast about the different people, technologies, and organizations that are coming together to remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and reverse climate change. We also talk about blockchains.

#74 A Conservative Approach to Climate Solutions—with Benji Backer

May 14, 2019


In our polarized political climate, we are led to believe that ALL conservatives are irrational climate deniers, and ALL liberals are dead set on a large-scale policy solution that will shut down the American economy. But if you turn off the TV and close your social media tabs, you might discover that Democrats and Republicans actually agree on a lot more than we think. So, how do we get both parties to the table to talk about climate solutions? What is the best approach for getting right-of-center thinkers to engage in the discussion? How can we leverage the best of conservative principles to design a solution in which the markets and policy work hand in hand?

Benji Backer is the President of the American Conservation Coalition, a nonprofit dedicated to educating and empowering conservatives to engage in environmental conversations and promote free-market and pro-business environmental solutions. Benji speaks at events across the country, and his work has appeared on CNBC, The Hill, and Townhall, among many other media outlets. Currently a junior at the University of Washington, Benji was named one of RedAlert’s Top 30 Under 30 conservatives in 2015. 

Today, Benji joins Ross, Christophe, and Paul to share his definition of what environmentalism should be, in contrast to what the term has come to represent. He discusses the principles of conservatism and offers insight on getting conservatives involved in the conversation around climate change. Listen in for Benji’s free-market approach to developing climate solutions and learn how liberals and conservatives can find common ground when it comes to reversing climate change.


American Conservation Coalition

ACC on Twitter

Benji on Twitter

‘Believing in Climate Change, But Not Behaving Sustainably: Evidence from a One-Year Longitudinal Study’ in the Journal of Environmental Psychology

Todd Myers on RCC EP052

Trey Hill on RCC EP059

The Paris Agreement

Green New Deal

Benji on the Van Jones Show

Young America’s Foundation

Edmund Burke

Robert Nisbet

SMBC comic

William Buckley

Michael Oakeshott

David Hume

Arthur Brooks

Love Your Enemies: How Decent People Can Save America from the Culture of Contempt by Arthur C. Brooks

Congressman Mike Gallagher

The Righteous Mind: Why Good People Are Divided by Politics and Religion by Jonathan Haidt

This Changes Everything by Naomi Klein

The Nature Conservancy

National Audubon Society

Sierra Club

World Wildlife Fund

Ken Burns

Bryan Caplan

Van Jones

Carbon Removal Newsroom

Review RCC on iTunes

Connect with Ross & Christophe


Nori on Facebook

Nori on Twitter

Nori on Medium

Nori on YouTube

Nori on GitHub

Email [email protected]

Nori White Paper

Subscribe on iTunes

Key Takeaways

[1:13] Benji’s path to reversing climate change

  • Active in conservative politics since age 10
  • President of American Conservation Coalition

[3:23] The need for rural voices in environmental policy decisions

  • Urban voice motives good but knowledge lacking
  • Live in nature, know importance of protecting environment

[5:24] Benji’s definition of what environmentalism SHOULD be

  • Care about + want to protect environment
  • Doesn’t mean support massive reform packages 

[7:34] The principles of conservatism

  • Limited government, common sense solutions
  • Balance local, state and national decisions

[11:26] Contemporary conservative voices worth listening to

[18:38] How to get conservatives involved in the climate conversation

  • Role of capitalism, markets in climate solutions
  • Innovation to reduce emissions

 [22:21] The free market approach to reversing climate change

  • Carbon capture and storage
  • Growth of clean energy
  • Markets + policy work hand in hand

[26:28] Benji’s insight on convincing conservatives re: climate change

  • Focus on national security, jobs and military
  • Pride in leading world + doing things first

[31:18] The failure of Washington state’s revenue-neutral carbon tax

  • Liberals didn’t like where money went, conservative support
  • ‘What is this really about then?’

[34:30] How to find common ground between liberals and conservatives

  • Start with non-climate issues (i.e.: National Park backlog, endangered species)
  • Focus on shared goals of clean air, water + protect future generations

[38:16] Why it’s crucial to understand the opposition’s argument

  • Better understand way others look at life
  • Get things done, even if don’t agree
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