OP-ED (CNBC): The GOP needs to embrace environmental issues and free-market solutions

For far too long, environmentalism has been dominated by negativity, partisan politics, bickering, and divisive policies. It has been driven through fear by money-seeking and politically-driven individuals and groups. As a result, modern-day environmentalism has unfortunately pushed the political right to dispute science and disregard many environmental problems. The environment, however, should (and can) be the issue that brings Americans together during our current political divide.

For that to happen, the tone on environmental policy must change. Instead of telling Americans to change their way of life to help the environment "or else," we should be focused on the positives of being pro-environment.

Changing the focus to the economic benefits of a sound environment is a fantastic place to start. According to an Environmental Defense Fund report from July of this year, renewable energy is creating jobs 12 times faster than other sectors of the economy. Additionally, data presented by Morgan Stanley indicate that clean energy will be the most inexpensive form of energy worldwide by 2020. Despite the U.S. pulling out of the Paris Climate Accord, the same Morgan Stanley report projects that clean energy will allow the U.S. to meet the Accord's carbon emission reduction targets in just a few years.

Benji Backer