AUSTIN (Nexstar) — Benji Backer is a conservative. He also believes in climate change.
Backer, 22, is the founder of the American Conservation Coalition, which works to bring conservative thinkers to the table to address the effects of climate change. He met with Gov. Greg Abbott at the Texas Capitol on Thursday as part of a 45-day roundtrip across the country.
“As a young person, I don’t see climate change as a political issue in terms of party, I think it’s a political issue in how we actually solve it,” Becker told KXAN. “Texas has to be part of the solution when it comes to lower emissions and solving climate change.”
Backer believes markets, aided by limited government, should lead the charge in addressing climate change, instead of sweeping federal proposals. He pointed to Tesla’s decision to build its largest plant in Central Texas as an example of government encouraging innovation and supporting renewable energy.
“Governor Abbott is someone who does believe in climate change but also believes that you need to have a regulatory market that is able to forge competition to come up with climate solutions,” Backer said. “Instead of trying to shut down the industry, we should be encouraging industry to become cleaner and start reversing the effects of climate change.”
During the second presidential debate, President Trump and Democratic nominee Joe Biden sparred over the future of the energy industry.
Trump said he pulled the United States out of the Paris Climate Agreement, a global initiative to address climate change, in order to preserve jobs and the economy.
Biden said the federal government should be incentivizing renewable energy innovations. His plan calls for a transition away from the oil industry to net-zero emissions by 2050.