A Republican staffer at the U.S. House has written a fervent call for conservative action on climate change, winning second place in a young conservative writing contest sponsored by the Energy and Enterprise Initiative. But he won’t be collecting his prize in person. He’s afraid to reveal his name or face.

The piece was published yesterday on the Real Clear Science website under the pseudonym of Eric Bradenson. The author explains that he is “writing under a pen name to protect his boss and himself.” Here’s how his piece kicks off:

Someone in the GOP needs to say it: conservation is conservative; climate change is real; and conservatives need to lead on solutions because we have better answers than the other side.

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… conservatives have long fought to protect the natural rights and property rights of individuals, living and unborn, from infringement by environmental degradation and pollution.

So why are so many Republicans in Congress taking a weed eater to what would naturally grow from the rich soil of conservatism?

“Bradenson” goes on to propose one climate solution: “a phase-out of subsidies for all sources of energy coupled with a revenue-neutral carbon tax swap.”

He’s probably wise to keep his identity hidden. Bob Inglis, a former Republican U.S. rep for South Carolina, called for a carbon tax and promptly got booted out of office. Now he runs the aforementioned Energy and Enterprise Initiative.

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“Bradenson” notes that it’s “conservatives outside of Congress — the ones ‘with nothing to lose’ like Bob Inglis, George Shultz, Art Laffer and Kevin Hassett — [who] are paving the way for Republicans to take the small government, pro-growth conservative stand on climate change.”

We’ve also been hearing anecdotes about young conservatives who want the Republican Party to get real and address climate change. A long article in National Journal two months ago spotlighted some of them, and an article in ClimateWire this week does the same.

But if calling for a carbon tax — or even just calling for discussion of the possibility that 97 percent of climate scientists are on to something — is enough to get you ousted from the GOP establishment, you know the party has a long way to go.

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