Republicans are beginning to feel the heat on climate change.

Though a significant bloc of the party continues to deny the basic science of the issue, some senior Republicans are showing a willingness to consider incremental legislation to turbo-charge clean energy research funding, invest in greening buildings, support electric vehicle charging infrastructure and promote energy efficiency.

And a few others are going farther, notably Rep. Francis Rooney, who supports a carbon tax — an idea that hasn’t attracted Republican support since a failed cap-and-trade bill nearly a decade ago.

“I don’t understand what it is about people in politics that they seem to be immune from some of these large shifts in opinion out there in the real world. I mean almost all the large-company CEOs are for taking reasonable steps to deal with climate change and sea level rise,” said Rooney, who represents a coastal Florida district and served as an ambassador in the George W. Bush administration.

He credited pressure from corporate leaders as helpful for ultimately setting a price on carbon despite ongoing resistance from many in his party.

And behind closed doors, Republicans are even more candid in acknowledging that action is needed, according to their Democratic colleagues.

“I’ve had very constructive dinners, meetings, conversations with Republican senators who see the threat of climate change, who agree that we need to take action,” said Sen. Chris Coons, a Democrat from Delaware.[…]