A small but growing number of Republicans say the G.O.P. needs a coherent climate strategy and form a “Conservative Climate Caucus” on Capitol Hill.
WASHINGTON — When Representative John Curtis quietly approached fellow Republicans to invite them to discuss climate change at a clandestine meeting in his home state of Utah, he hoped a half dozen members might attend.
Soon the guest list blew past expectations as lawmakers heard about the gathering and asked to be included. For two days in February, 24 Republicans gathered in a ballroom of the Grand America Hotel in Salt Lake City where they brainstormed ways to get their party to engage on a planetary problem it has ignored for decades.
“Some came with the promise of being anonymous. It’s terrible that Republicans can’t even go talk about it without being embarrassed,” Mr. Curtis said in an interview.
For four years under President Donald J. Trump, even uttering the phrase “climate change” was verboten for many Republicans. His administration scrubbed the words from federal websites, tried to censor testimony to Congress and mocked the science linking rising fossil fuel emissions to a warming planet.