Republican lawmakers on Wednesday proposed legislation setting a goal for the United States to plant a trillion trees by 2050 to fight global warming, a plan intended to address climate change by sucking carbon out of the air instead of by cutting emissions.
The proposed legislation reflects an acknowledgement by some in the Republican Party of rising voter demand for action on climate change, even as it seeks to preserve the economic benefits of a historic drilling boom that has made the United States the world's biggest oil and gas producer.
Republican President Donald Trump, who has repeatedly cast doubt on the science of climate change, had expressed support for the idea of a massive tree-planting campaign during a speech at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, last month.
The bill was one of several elements of a broader proposal on climate change introduced by a half dozen House lawmakers on Wednesday.
Additional bills will be released over the coming weeks, focusing on expanding a tax credit to bolster carbon capture technology from power plants and directly from the air, creating a research hub to advance those technologies, and boosting "clean" energy, including natural gas and nuclear.
The bills focus on technology "innovation" and avoid setting a price for carbon pollution and setting or enforcing emission reduction mandates.
Democrats, including all the top presidential hopefuls in this year's election, have made proposals for a rapid shift away from fossil fuels to help the United States and other countries avoid the worst impacts of climate change.
Environmentalists argue that focusing on planting trees or investing in carbon sequestration technology while ignoring emission cuts from fossil fuel use is counterproductive.