The primary field for the Republican presidential nomination is rapidly growing, with three new candidates set to announce their intentions this week.

GOP primary voters have a choice to make: stick with the strategy that lost the 2020 election or embrace the new generation of Republican candidates. This is especially true on one key issue: climate. 

We all know where Donald Trump stands on climate; he has called climate change a hoax and pulled out of the Paris Agreement. But what you may not know is the other candidates vying for the nomination have championed some real pro-climate policies. Despite the confusion and shock from folks when I express this sentiment on Twitter, it’s true: climate action can be conservative. 

For starters, look at former United Nations Ambassador Nikki Haley, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and South Carolina Sen. Tim Scott. It’s clear that environmental protection is important to all three if you look beyond the headlines.

DeSantis has made historic investments in the iconic Florida Everglades and even vetoed a measure from the state legislature that would have kneecapped the solar industry in the state. Scott co-sponsored legislation that incentivized American farmers to use climate-smart agricultural practices and has worked to promote clean energy. Haley has taken a pro-innovation approach to climate issues, promising to unleash American ingenuity, such as carbon-capture technology, to address the challenge. 

And former Vice President Mike Pence, who on Monday filed paperwork to run, has openly said that human activity affects our natural environment and has encouraged activity that would decrease emissions while securing our energy future. 

Even Republicans on the bench have strong legs to stand on when it comes to climate. New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu, who announced Monday that he would not run for president in 2024, has been incredibly pro-clean energy, creating an economic environment in his state that has encouraged competition and low energy prices.

The point here is that the GOP is no longer the party of climate denial. It hasn’t been for several years. Just because the Republicans’ approach looks different than the progressive solutions we’ve gotten used to hearing doesn’t mean that the GOP doesn’t have ideas. A pro-innovation, common-sense approach to the climate challenges we face is the true way forward, not a path paved by pretty promises and unrealistic goals. 

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And as I’ve written before, polls show that a majority of Republicans want action on climate, and younger Republicans — especially those between the ages of 18 and 39 — are especially concerned about climate change and solutions. If the GOP wants to grow its base of young voters, it is imperative that its candidates have strong records on the environment, and not be afraid to tout them.

The reason the GOP has progressed from climate denial and skepticism to real environmental leadership is largely because of grassroots activists who have pushed the movement forward. Young conservatives, in particular, have been instrumental in this push and have demonstrated that there is significant momentum behind uniquely conservative environmental solutions. 

As a young, conservative climate activist, I have a lot of hope for the future of the conservative movement and climate action. Next year, conservatives have a huge choice: to move forward or to look backward. All Americans want clean air, clean water and a safe environment to call home. Conservatives can be the ones to truly champion that message if they prioritize the issue on the campaign trail. 

There has been a lot of discourse about conservatives and climate over the past few years, and 2024 is the time to prove that conservation and climate action are conservative values. The candidates already in the field, and those still considering a run, must prioritize being positive climate spokespeople — meeting both Republican primary voters and young people on the issue. That’s the path forward for the conservative climate movement. 

Benji Backer is the president and founder of American Conservation Coalition Action. Follow him on Twitter @BenjiBacker.